Measuring communist priorities: Budgets, Investments, and the Problem of Equivalence

Donna Bahry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Research on communist systems has in the past decade come increasingly to focus on the making and impact of public policy, and to rely on fiscal data as one of the most abundant sources of information about communist priorities. Yet although government budgets and investments offer the advantages of quantification, and permit comparisons both within and across nations, they can be inconsistent and ambiguous measures of communist priorities. Labels for various items are consistent, but their meaning may vary from one country, one region, and one year to another, because of complex fiscal arrangements that are frequently recast. The data thus require careful analysis and in many cases adjustment in order to provide equivalent measurement of the policy choices that communist systems make. This article offers an analysis of the equivalence problem, reanalyzing the results of other studies to illustrate that communist fiscal arrangements and reforms can have a significant impact on the conclusions we draw about communist policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-292
Number of pages26
JournalComparative Political Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1980

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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