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Quantity versus quality in the Soviet market for weapons

By Mark Harrison and Andreĭ Markevich

Abstract

Military market places display obvious inefficiencies under most arrangements, but the Soviet defense market was unusual for its degree of monopoly, exclusive relationships, intensely scrutinized (in its formative years) by a harsh dictator. This provided the setting for quality versus quantity in the delivery of weapons to the government. The paper discusses the power of the industrial contractor over the defense buyer in terms of a hold-up problem. The typical use that the contractor made of this power was to default on quality. The defense ministry’s counter-action took the form of deploying agents through industry with the authority to verify quality and reject substandard goods. The final compromise restored quality at the expense of quantity. Being illicit, it had to be hidden from the dictator

Topics: HC, DK, U1
Publisher: University of Warwick, Department of Economics
Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:1394

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