Institutions for Assessing Popular Consumption Preferences Under State Socialism

Thursday, July 9, 2015
H201 (28 rue des Saints-Pères)
Martin Dimitrov , Political Science, Tulane University
The dominant political science theories of communist rule have argued that state socialist regimes cater to the needs of elites but ignore the masses. Going against the conventional wisdom, this paper provides a theoretical argument for why creating institutions for assessing popular consumption preferences is essential for the long-term survival of state-socialist regimes. The paper is based on archival documents from pre-1989 Bulgaria and post-1949 China, which are supplemented by East German and Soviet materials and by interviews conducted in Bulgaria, Germany, China, and Cuba.