Economic Development of the Late Russian Empire in a Regional Perspective
38 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2015
Date Written: December 25, 2014
I reconstruct gross regional products for all provinces of the Russian empire in the late 19th century for the first time. My estimations confirm that an average citizen in late imperial Russia was relatively poor but reveal substantial variation in regional income in the country. Provinces also differed significantly in terms of industrial structure and productivity. I take advantage of the reconstructed figures to explore their regional variation and to test Gerschenkron’s hypotheses about negative effect of the institution of the peasant commune and positive effect of state expenditures on Russian economic development and industrialization. I find that agricultural productivity was lower in the provinces where communal agriculture was more widespread. However, at the regional level there is no evidence that the peasant commune harmed industrial development. I also do not find evidence for positive impact of construction of railroads or public goods expenditures on industrialization.
Keywords: Russia, national accounting, regions
JEL Classification: N13, N15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation