What are the sources of the well-known differences in the performance of capitalist and socialist economic systems? Peter Murrell argues that the Schumpeterian model has far more power to answer this question than does the neoclassical theory generally used for that purpose. The neoclassical theory focuses on the absence of a price system and the inability of a centralized system to allocate resources efficiently, while the Schumpeterian model emphasizes the rigidity of institutions and policies in socialist economies and their lack of mechanisms either to create new institutions or to identify and to foster the growth of the most efficient organizations (including multinational corporations). In a work that will have profound consequences for the analysis of economic reform in socialist economies, Murrell compares the predictions of these two models against data summarizing foreign trade performance and finds the Schumpeterian model clearly superior. Combining international trade theory and econometric techniques, the author develops new methods of comparative economic analysis. These methods provide new information on the values of eleven resource endowments implicit in trade, the degree to which the socialist countries fit standard models of trade, the effect of multinational corporations on trade, and myriad other features of economic performance.
Originally published in 1990.
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