Communism and Economic Modernization

33 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2012

See all articles by Mark Harrison

Mark Harrison

University of Warwick; University of Birmingham

Date Written: June 25, 2012


The paper examines the range of national experiences of communist rule in terms of the aspiration to ‘overtake and outstrip the advanced countries economically’. It reviews the causal beliefs of the rulers, the rise and fall of their economies (or, in the case of China, its continued rise), the core institutions of communist rule and their evolution, and other outcomes. The process of overcoming a development lag so as to approach the global technological frontier has required continual institutional change and policy reform in the face of resistance from established interests. So far, China is the only country where communist rule has been able to meet this requirement, enabled by a new deal with political and economic stakeholders. The paper places the 'China Deal' on a spectrum previously limited to the Soviet Big and Little Deals.

Keywords: Beliefs, China, communism, convergence, growth, institutions, modernization, policy reform, Russia

JEL Classification: B14, H56, N40, P20

Suggested Citation

Harrison, Mark, Communism and Economic Modernization (June 25, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

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

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics