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The Macroeconomics of NEP

Simon Johnson and Peter Temin
The Economic History Review
New Series, Vol. 46, No. 4 (Nov., 1993), pp. 750-767
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Economic History Society
DOI: 10.2307/2598256
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2598256
Page Count: 18
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The Macroeconomics of NEP
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Abstract

The microeconomic problems of the Soviet New Economic Policy (NEP, 1921-9) which are usually cited are here reinterpreted as the result of macroeconomic imbalance. The Bolsheviks ended a hyperinflation in spring 1924, but they also began to impose price controls. Because price controls were more effective in towns than in the countryside, relatively moderate inflation during the next three years caused instability in the effective terms of trade for agriculture. Measures to address this problem, such as restricting private trade, worsened the situation and masked the price indicators which should have warned of an impending crisis. NEP offers a cautionary tale about the danger of combining an inflationary macro policy and partial price controls, particularly in an economy with a large state sector.

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