The Demand for Labour

  • Silvana Malle
Part of the Studies in Russian and East European History and Society book series (SREEHS)


The planning and control of the demand for labour reflects the planning of production capacity. The latter is relevant not only to additional demand but also to the replacement of existing manpower. Capital/labour ratios are embodied in the installed capacity. Thus, in principle, the planned volume of output determines both capacity utilisation and employment. However, in practice, it is up to the enterprises to decide the volume and composition of employment. This section, therefore, focuses on the behaviour of enterprises and on the indicators used to determine their demand for labour.


Labour Supply Shift Regime Capacity Utilisation Instal Capacity Output Target 
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Notes to Chapter 3: The Demand for Labour

  1. 1.
    See D. V. Zembatova, ‘Troblemy planirovaniia zaniatosti naseleniia i effektivnost’ obshchestvennogo proizvodstva’, in A. G. Aganbegian and D. D. Moskovich (eds), Povyshenie effektivnosti narodnogo khoziaistva (Moskva, 1984) pp. 224–5.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See V. P. Cherevan’, Sbalansirovannost’ rabochikh mest i trudovykh resursov (Moskva: Ekonomika, 1988) p. 27.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    J. Kornai, The Economics of Shortage, North Holland, Vol. A (1980), provides a theoretical framework for the interpretation of labour shortage in Soviet type planned economies, which is not discussed in the text, although some points are clearly related to it.Google Scholar
  4. See also P. Hanson, ‘The Serendipitous Soviet Achievement of Full Employment: Labour Shortage and Labour Hoarding in the Soviet Economy’, in D. Lane (ed.), Labour and Employment in the Soviet Union (Brighton: Wheatsheaf Books Ltd., 1986) pp. 88–90Google Scholar
  5. D. M. Nuti, ‘Systemic Aspects of Employment and Investment in Soviet-Type Economies’, in Labour and Employment in the Soviet Union, op. cit., pp. 116–19, and S. Oxenstierna, ‘Labour Hoarding and Attempts at Labour Saving in the Soviet Economy’, in S. Hedlund (ed.), Incentives and Economic Systems (Beckenham: Croom Helm, 1987) pp. 105–9, on labour shortage as a disequilibrium produced by systemic excess demand.Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    Estimates of conventional net output, based on direct labour cost, profit and depreciation allowances, were worked out in 1923–25. In 1969–71 net output indicators were worked out for some 100 engineering and light industry enterprises, by deducting material costs and fixed capital allowances from gross and marketable output, see G. Ia. Kiperman and A. Ia. Nefedova, Primenenie pokazatelia chistoi produktsii (normativnoi) na mashinostroitel’nykh predpriiatiakh (Moskva: Mashinostroenie, 1982) pp. 22–3 and G. Vlasenkov and K. Grishin, ‘O chistoi produktsii’, Planovoe khoziaistvo (1986) no. 8, pp. 68–71.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    See Z. N. Neiman, Vnutrizavodskie tekhniko-ekonomicheskoe planiro-vanie na mashinostroitel’nom predpriiatii (Leningrad: Mashinostroenie, 1982) pp. 40–41.Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    Ibid., pp. 322–24. See also S. I. Kirke, Ekonomika truda v sisteme sotsialisticheskogo khoziaistvovaniia (Kishinev: Kartia Moldoveniaske, 1987) pp. 24–5Google Scholar
  9. V. S. Naidenov and M. M. Zeifman, Normativnye osnovy organizatsii truda (Kiev: Tekhnika, 1987) pp. 55–7.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    A concise explanation of soft versus hard budget constraints can be found in J. Kornai, Growth, Shortage and Efficiency (Oxford: Blackwell, 1982) pp. 27–30Google Scholar
  11. J. Kornai, Contradictions and Dilemmas (Budapest: Corvina, 1985) pp. 32–51.Google Scholar
  12. 16.
    These factors are considered the main explanation for a high demand for labour by G. E. Shroeder, ‘Managing Labour Shortages in the Soviet Union’, in J. Adam (ed.), Employment Policies in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (London: The Macmillan Press Ltd, 1982) pp. 5–8.Google Scholar
  13. The rationale of hoarding labour which emerges from the list of ‘non-systemic’ factors explains why Soviet managers do not feel they use too much labour, see P. R. Gregory, ‘Productivity, slack and time theft in the Soviet economy’, in J. Millar (ed.), Politics, work and daily life in the USSR, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), pp. 241–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 17.
    On Soviet technology and innovation patterns, see R. Amann, ‘Industrial Innovation in the Soviet Union: Methodological Perspectives and Conclusions’, in R. Amann and J. Cooper (eds), Industrial Innovation in the Soviet Union, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982) pp. 1–37. The standpoint, as in D. Granick, op. cit., pp. 171–201, and V. P. Cherevan’, Sbalansirovannost’, op. cit., p. 66 that labour-consuming technology was a full-employment oriented planning choice, is not substantiated by much evidence either in the history and pattern of earlier Soviet industrialisation — which was indeed quite capital-intensive — or in the 1970s and 1980s, when the number of vacancies increased in all productive sectors in the country as a whole and capital-intensive branches were expanded in the excess-labour economic regions, whilst in the labour-shortage regions fixed assets were slowly replaced by traditional techniques: from 1975–85 70 per cent of metal-cutting machines dispatched to Leningrad for replacement were not automated and by 1985 6500 industrial robots and self-programming machines had replaced only 9000 workers, see V. P. Cherevan’, op. cit., pp. 67 and 90.Google Scholar
  15. 19.
    See D. A. Chernikov, Tempy i proportsii ekonomicheskogo rosta (Moskva: Ekonomika, 1982) pp. 74–5.Google Scholar
  16. 20.
    See M. Matthews, Education in the Soviet Union. Policies and Institutions Since Stalin (London: Allen & Unwin, 1982) pp. 170–73.Google Scholar
  17. 25.
    On the shortcomings of Soviet statistical methodology, see S. Shenfield, The Mathematical Statistical Methodology of Contemporary Soviet Family Budget Survey, Doctoral Dissertation, University of Birmingham, CREES (1984) pp. 32–50 and for a short but useful summary of statistical failures by the same author, ‘How reliable are Published Soviet Data on the Kolkhoz Market’, CREES Discussion Papers, General Series Gl (November 1984) pp. 19–24. On the aversion to random sample analysis and on its causes, see S. Shenfield and P. Hanson, ‘The Functioning of the Soviet System of State Statistics’, CREES Special Report, SR-86–1, pp. 59–61. The enterprises know beforehand the date of the census, cf. Iu. Charukhin, ‘Problemy smennosti v mashinostroeniia’, Sotsialisticheskii trud (1984) no. 9, pp. 13–14.Google Scholar
  18. 30.
    See I.I. Prostiakov and Iu. V. Uvarov, Dvednatsataiapiatiletka. Tempy, proportsiiy sotsial’naia programma (Moskva: Finansy i statistika, 1986) p. 37.Google Scholar
  19. 32.
    L. M. Danilov, (ed.), Dvizhenie rabochikh kadrov v promyshlennosti, (Moskva: Statistika, 1973) p. 17. Similar definitions are found in A. Kotliar, Tolnaia zaniatost’ i sbalansirovannost’ faktorov sotsialisti-cheskogo prodizvodstva’, Voprosy ekonomiki (1983) no. 7, p. 107, for whom a workplace in material production is ‘the total production means reflected in the unit of a production complex, the functioning of which requires the application (prilozhenie) of one worker with the appropriate skill and qualification during the working day’. When applied to other branches, the workplace is defined as ‘the place of application of individual labour, a form of organisation of objective elements of production, the function of which in the course of the working day requires the application of one executant of a given skill and qualification’, see L. S. Dorokhova and R. P. Kolosova, Tspol’zovanie trudovykh resursov na sovremennom étape’, Izvestiia AN SSSR, Seriia ekonomicheskaia (1981) no. 2, p. 108.Google Scholar
  20. 42.
    See I. S. Maslova, Mekhanizm pereraspredeleniia rabochei sily pri sotsia-lizme (Moskva: Ekonomika, 1985) pp. 89–92.Google Scholar
  21. 71.
    See D. A. Chernikov, Tempy i proportsii ekonomicheskogo rosta (Moskva: Ekonomika 1982) pp. 62–7.Google Scholar

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© Silvana Malle 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Silvana Malle
    • 1
  1. 1.University of VeronaItaly

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