In his 1962 NBER volume, The Growth of Industrial Production in the Soviet Union, Warren Nutter writes about how the study of the Soviet economy was hamstrung by official secrecy and data limitations. Western economists were forced to rely on what Nutter called “Marco Polo economics” or “travelers' tales” to replace or interpret quantitative data. Nutter's book is littered with these tales of Soviet economic activity from Soviet émigrés, foreign visitors, and reports of Soviet citizens. The tales provide a narrative grounding for The Growth of Industrial Production in the Soviet Union by outlining the flow of data through the Soviet statistical bureaucracy, establishing the strengths and limitations of Soviet data, and aiding in the interpretation of difficult-to-measure concepts such as product quality and military production.

You do not currently have access to this content.