Forging Success: Soviet Managers and Accounting Fraud, 1943 to 1962

45 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2012

See all articles by Mark Harrison

Mark Harrison

University of Warwick; University of Birmingham

Date Written: November 8, 2010


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.

Keywords: Accounting Fraud, Performance-Based Incentives, Political Markets, Soviet Economy

JEL Classification: D21, L51, N44, P21

Suggested Citation

Harrison, Mark, Forging Success: Soviet Managers and Accounting Fraud, 1943 to 1962 (November 8, 2010). Journal of Comparative Economics, Vol. 39, No. 1, 2011, Available at SSRN:

Mark Harrison (Contact Author)

University of Warwick ( email )

Department of Economics
University of Warwick
Coventry, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom


University of Birmingham ( email )

Birmingham, B15 2TT
United Kingdom

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