This book provides the most detailed analysis to date of the economics of the Soviet urban household sector during the 1970s. It contains eight studies covering the size and distribution of incomes and wealth, the incidence and causes of poverty, the labour supply of women, division of labour among household members, and saving behaviour. All these studies are based on a unique source of information: the returns of retrospective income surveys of Jewish immigrants to Israel and the United States. In each study, Gur Ofer and Aaron Vinokur employ a cross-sectional econometric analysis of data on individual households and in this they are unique among all Western and Soviet authors on the Soviet household sector. Ofer and Vinokur conclude that socialist achievements in the sphere of economic equality were rather modest. They also show that, even under the peculiar conditions imposed on Soviet households by the socialist system, they responded to economic constraints in a way that is predictable by ordinary Western-type models of household behaviour.
Although it is essentially an historical study, The Soviet Household under the Old Regime makes an important contribution to current evaluations of the conditions necessary for the smooth transition of the Soviet system. It sheds light on probable changes in household patterns and in entrepreneurship as well as on the refinements needed in the welfare and social security systems. This book will be widely read by students and specialists of Soviet studies, comparative economics, income distribution and women's studies. It will also be an invaluable reference source for government officials and journalists.
"Everyone interested in the comparative behavior of households as they react to their economic environment will find these studies highly informative." Journal of Economic Literature "This volume illustrates the best of the old Sovietology as practiced by 'pros.' Its usefulness will grow over time--mainly for historians, as the title suggests. The title echoes many books that appeared after 1917 describing an earlier 'old regime.'" Slavic Review "...will be of interest to microeconomists generally, as a study of behavior in a different economic environment, to labor economists and economic demographers, to those interested in the role of women in the economy, and of course to Soviet and post-Soviet specialists." Joseph M. Nowakowski, Southern Economic Journal 'Ofer and Vinokur's studies show the power of carefully drawn and analyzed samples. Working with a far-from-ideal sample -- Soviet emigrants to Israel -- they were able to reweight the sample with the result that their sample came remarkably close to replicating the basic published characteristics of the Soviet population such as average wages...Ofer and Vinokur show that major progress in social-science research is not made cheaply or overnight. These results show what a decade or more of careful research can yield. Unfortunately, there are too few such research projects that combine such patience, perseverance, and theoretical and methodological competence." Paul Gregory, Journal of Economic History