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Khrushchev’s Cash-and-Goods Lotteries and the Turn Toward Positive Incentives

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
Author:
Kristy IronsidePostdoctoral Research Fellow, International Center for the History and Sociology of wwiiand Its Consequences, National Research University – Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia, kironside@hse.ru

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This article focuses on the Soviet government’s turn to positive incentives to play the state lottery in the late 1950s, after thirty years of coercing citizens to buy state lottery bonds under Stalin. Khrushchev discontinued the Stalinist bonds in April 1957 and, in their wake, introduced “cash-and-goods lotteries” featuring voluntary participation. The Khrushchev government identified a powerful positive incentive to buy tickets in the coveted consumer goods the lotteries offered as prizes. Citizens were no longer asked to sacrifice toward the state lottery, rather, they were encouraged to risk small sums toward potential consumer gain and the improvement of their living standards – a new way of conceptualizing Soviet citizens’ personal financial contributions to the state as the Soviet Union approached communist prosperity.

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