Review of Gur Ofer, [The Service Sector in Soviet Economic Growth].

by Abraham S. Becker

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In this tightly written book, Gur Ofer explains why the Soviets have reached a relatively advanced state of economic development, yet retain an industrial structure resembling those of considerably less-developed economies. He asks, Why is the share of the civilian labor force employed in services so low relative to comparable industrialized countries? Ofer sees the Soviet economic policy as responsible for the relatively low level of service employment in the USSR: It has kept a tight rein on the process of urbanization, prohibited most private enterprise, and constrained increases of disposable personal income. Ofer's analysis examines other contributing factors and considers the degree to which Soviet industrial structure will change in the future. Says reviewer Becker: "The theoretical and statistical apparatus of this book is wielded deftly. The noneconomist, nonstatistician who finds some of that material rough going will nevertheless be amply rewarded for patience in making his way." 2 pp.

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