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  • 1 Corvinus University of Budapest Department of Comparative Economics Budapest Hungary
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This essay attempts to understand János Kornai’s works from a political economy perspective. It argues that Kornai has significantly contributed to the formation of a new paradigm of political economy. The main endeavor of Kornai has been the combination of analytical concepts of economics with the empirical description of real economies. After a certain period of theoretical experimentation János Kornai formulated his research program that can be called the shortage economy explanation of the socialist system. The Economics of Shortage and The Socialist System have created a new theoretical paradigm in a framework in which it has become possible to establish a connection between the analytical and empirical, universal and historical aspects of the theory studying the socialist system as a real economic entity. János Kornai has built his analysis of the socialist system on the primary role of politics in the creation of economic institutions. In his present work on capitalism he has extended this thesis to the capitalist system. This seems to be an important contribution of his to a new political economy paradigm that is just in the process of formation.

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