Valery V. Lazarev
Centralized Resource Allocation in the Soviet Economy in the 1930's: a Case of Automobiles,
in: Ekonomicheskaja istorija. Ezhegodnik (Economic Hystory. Yearbook). 2001, Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2002, p.607-641.
Administrative resource allocation implemented in Soviet-type economies used to be a major alternative to market allocation for many decades. An important question concerning this type of allocation is whether such a system based on non-price information can be efficient. Western economists made a number of important theoretical insights from the 1930's to the 1970's. This paper presents the results of a case study on administrative allocation of one type of commodity, automobiles, subject to centralized control in the early 1930's. Institutional framework, procedures, and outcomes of the allocation process are studied in detail using primary sources from the archival files of the Soviet government and planning and production organizations. The main findings of the paper are that the efficiency of the information system of centralized resource allocation was very low but the system itself was versatile and assumed an active role for the consumers.