Pushkinskaya st. 43. office 10
Rostov-on-Don, Russia
e-mail: info@hjournal.ru 
tel. +7(863) 269-88-14

cubsEN (2)

Informal Institutions of The Planned Socialism and Its Influence in The Prose of Sergey Dovlatov

Informal Institutions of The Planned Socialism and Its Influence in The Prose of Sergey Dovlatov

Journal of Institutional Studies, , Vol. 11 (no. 2),

The main hypothesis of this paper is that S. Dovlatov's prose contains detailed description of informal institutions of the Soviet planned economy and their influence on everyday economic decisions. Therefore, the study of this prose is useful for understanding the problems of the economic system of planned socialism, in particular, its lag behind the capitalist system and general degradation. As you know, S. Dovlatov considered himself not to be a “writer” who writes about what people live for, but a “storyteller” writing about how people live. However, he often talked about the experience of his own life: it is not by chance that most of his works are written in the first person. In general, the description of “how people live” will inevitably touch upon the norms of behavior of these people, the rules that affect their economic and social decisions, and these decisions themselves. Therefore, S. Dovlatov's prose can be considered as a reliable “cast” of the influence of informal and formal institutions of a planned economy on the standard of living of people, the possibility of their self-realization, as well as on the production potential of such an economy. In this regard, the work of S. Dovlatov may be useful for everyone involved in the comparative analysis of economic systems, in general, and in the analysis of planned economy in particular. The most important aspect is the restriction of economic freedoms, in particular, the freedom of entrepreneurship and, as a result, the impossibility of “finding oneself” and fully realizing it in a planned economy. Hence, the sense of absurdity and meaninglessness of life, the sense of hopelessness that so often embrace Dovlatov’s heroes. Furthermore, we can understand his interest to people who are trying to "get away from everyday life". They did it through drunkenness, idle pastime and other types of "immoral" behavior. In addition, special attention is paid to such phenomena of planned socialism of the USSR, as fartsovka and theft in enterprises. All these phenomena are comprehended both on the base of both institutionally oriented economic theory and S. Dovlatov’s works.

Keywords: informal institutions, planned socialism, Soviet economy, Dovlatov

  • Bellais, R. (2004). Post Keynesian theory, technology policy, and long-term growth. Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, 26(3), 419–440.
  • Bradley Jr., R. L. and Donway, R. (2010). Capitalism, socialism and “the middle way”: A taxonomy. The Independent Review, 15(1), 71–87.
  • Dyogtev, A. S. (2016). Vodka hit by crisis? (http://rusrand.ru/analytics/udarjat-li-vodkojpo-krizisu) (In Russian).
  • Dovlatov, S. D. (1995). Collected Writings in Three Volumes. Vol. II. Saint Petersburg: Limbus Press, 384 p. (In Russian).
  • Dovlatov, S. D. (2019). Zapovednik. Saint Petersburg: Azbuka, Azbuka-Attikus, 384 p. (In Russian).
  • Galasi, P. and Kertesi, G. (1987). The spread of bribery in a centrally planned economy. Acta Oeconomica, 38(3/4), 371–389.
  • Genis, A. (1999). Dovlatov and Around. Moscow: Vagrius, 304 p. (In Russian)
  • Juniper, J. (2000). A genealogy of short-termism in capital markets. CoBar Working Paper № 2000–03.
  • Kornai, J. (1990). Shortage, Moscow: Nauka, 608 p. (In Russian).
  • Kornai, J. (2012). Reflections on Capitalism, Moscow: Gaydar’s Institute Press, 352 p. (In Russian).
  • Korolyova, N. (2011). Drinking under socialism: how and what they drank in the GDR (https://www.dw.com/ru/пьянство-при-социализме-как-и-что-выпивали-в-гдр/a-14993506) (In Russian).
  • Kowalski, J. S. (1983). On the relevance of the concept of “centrally planned economies”. Jahrbuch fur Sozialwissenschaft, 34(2), 255–266.
  • Kregel, J. (1995). A financial structure for developing market mechanisms in Eastern Europe / in: Finance, Development and Structural Change. Ed. by P. Arestis, V. Chick. Aldershot: Edward Elgar. 168–179.
  • Lin, S. (1993). A monetary model of a shortage economy. Staff Papers (International Monetary Fund), 40(2), 369–394.
  • North, D. (2010). Understanding the Process of Economic Change. М.: HSE Press, 256 p. (In Russian).
  • Prostakov, S. (2013). In the early 1980s, 500,000 people a year died of alcoholism in the USSR.
  • (https://rusplt.ru/fact/v-nachale-1980h-ot-alkogolizma-v-sssr-umiralo-500-tyisyachchelovek-v-god.html) (In Russian).
  • Rozmainsky, I. V., Ivlieva, A. A., Kim, P. S. and Podgayskaya, A. E. (2017). Institutional analysis of bounded rationality of the contemporary Russians. Journal of Institutional Studies, 9(4), 101–117. (In Russian)
  • Rozmainsky, I. V. and Tatarkin, A. S. (2018). Disbelief in the future and “negative investment” in health capital in contemporary Russia. Voprosy Economiki, 1, 128–150. (In Russian)
  • Sukhikh, I. N. (1996). Sergei Dovlatov: Time, Place, Destiny. Saint Petersburg: Cult Inform Press, 384 p. (In Russian).
  • Van Brabant, J. M. (1990). Socialist economics: The disequilibrium school and the shortage economy. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 4(2), 157–175.
  • Williamson, O. E. (1975). Markets and Hierarchies. Analysis and Antitrust Implications. New York: Free Press. 286 p.
  • Williamson, O. E. (1993). Opportunism and its Critics. Managerial and Decision Economics, 14(2), 97–107.
  • Williamson, O. E. (1996). The Economic Institutions of Capitalism: Firms, Markets, Relational Contracting. Saint Petersburg: Lenizdat. 702 p. (In Russian).
  • Wolf, T. A. (1990). Macroeconomic adjustment and reform in planned economies. Soviet and Eastern European Foreign Trade, 26(2), International Economic Organizations and Reform in the Planned Economies Part II, 46–62.
Publisher: Ltd. "Humanitarian perspectives"
Founder: Ltd. "Humanitarian perspectives"
Online-ISSN: 2412-6039
ISSN: 2076-6297