موفقیت واحد فورج : مدیران شوروی و کلاهبرداری حسابداری، 1943-1962
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|17735||2011||22 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Comparative Economics, Volume 39, Issue 1, March 2011, Pages 43–64
Attempting to satisfy their political masters in a target-driven culture, Soviet managers had to optimize on many margins simultaneously. One of these was the margin of truthfulness. False accounting for the value of production was apparently widespread in some branches of the economy and at some periods of time. A feature of accounting fraud was that cases commonly involved the aggravating element of conspiracy. The paper provides new evidence on the nature and extent of accounting fraud; the scale and optimal size of conspiratorial networks; the authorities’ willingness to penalize it and the political and social factors that secured leniency; and inefficiency in the socialist market where managers competed for political credit.
Soviet managers worked from day to day within a target-driven culture. The Politburo set overarching priorities. From these, planners set ministerial and regional production quotas or “plans.” Ministries and local authorities distributed the plans to factories, farms, and offices. In industry, construction, and transport, quotas were usually in rubles at “fixed” plan prices. Procurement quotas for foodstuffs and timber were in units of weight or volume. The ratio of performance to plan formed the rewards and reputations of most officials and managers. Did managers hide plan failure? That this was commonplace is suggested by the emergence of a specialized Soviet-era jargon. Everyone understood the verb pripisyvat’, literally “to add on” fictional goods to the report of plan fulfillment. The noun pripiska (plural pripiski) was the value of “add-ons,” the fictional goods included in the plan report. Pripiski were a form of accounting fraud or “plan fraud.” The accounting manipulations involved were not unobservable or unverifiable. They entailed straightforward lies, punishable in court. There was criminal responsibility because state plans had legal force, making plan fraud “deception of the state.” In addition, there was often conspiracy. Deception on the part of any supplier tended to be immediately obvious to the industrial and wholesale buyers that relied on planned supplies to achieve their own quotas. The supplier’s deception risked immediate exposure unless the buyer was willing to collude in it. False accounting in the Soviet economy raises many questions for historians and social scientists. Historians of the Russian and Soviet economy have long been curious to know: How widespread and how serious were cases of pripiski? If widespread and serious, how did they affect measured output, living standards, and growth? How did agents collude, and how widely? And what stopped them from going further? Questions also arise from a social-science perspective. Game theory tells us that the principal’s problem should internalize the problem of the agent. We are studying a command economy under a harsh dictator who demanded truthful accounts from his agents. False accounts cheated him, and collusion among agents undermined his power. How did the dictator respond to the offense, and conspiracies to commit it, and what does this tell us about his rule? In this paper, I first review the historical literature on Soviet managers. Second, I describe data now available from once closed Soviet-era archives. Third, I classify the types of fraud that they reveal. I consider, fourth, what we can infer about undetected crime; and fifth, about the fit between crime and punishment. Sixth, I discuss Soviet managers as rational agents, operating in an inefficient political market. The final section concludes.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Our data on accounting or plan fraud in the Soviet enterprise in the 1940s and 1950s suggest six main findings. First, Soviet plan fraud covered a range of schemes that varied in scale, complexity, risks, and frequency. Frequency was time varying for two reasons. The court records of 1946/1947 show a surge of cases driven from above by a decision to crack down on plan fraud. In contrast, the party investigations of 1943–1962 give evidence of three successive waves in which the frequency and value of plan frauds rose together, driven from below by changes in the underlying propensity to offend. Second, the data are suggestive of a background of undetected plan fraud that was pervasive but low-level. Effective plan fraud on a larger scale depended on collusive networks of a size that was efficient for concealment, with enough scope to provide mutual protection but small enough to maintain cohesion. Third, while the law was often broken, it was infrequently enforced. There were two regimes, zero tolerance and toleration. Toleration was the norm: Most offenses that were detected were treated as disciplinary violations, and were punished lightly and unsystematically. Beyond some limit, a growing sense of damaging excess could drive the authorities to crack down. The result was that toleration alternated with infrequent outbreaks of zero tolerance, marked by sudden and severe penalization. Fourth, regardless of the regime, the high value of managers to the Soviet regime tended to encourage forgiveness. Even during crackdowns, there was leniency for socially more connected or politically higher-value offenders. Fifth, plan fraud was managers’ best choice when faced with a plan shortfall under the constraint of a compulsory production quota. At such times, managers optimally switched effort from production to deception. In normal times they could expect fraud to go undetected or attract little worse than a reprimand or reassignment, which were routine events. Sixth, the periodic waves of plan fraud suggest a role for imitative behavior. Managers engaged in correlated risk taking. Their superiors overinvested in deceptive claims. In the second half of the 1950s the number, complexity, and value of frauds grew rapidly. A bubble developed in the inefficient socialist political market where plan promises were traded. Overvaluation led to collapse when the bubble burst and normal times came to a sudden stop.