A Regional Perspective on the Economic Development of the late Russian Empire
90 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2015 Last revised: 24 May 2019
Date Written: May 14, 2019
This paper analyzes the relative impacts of geographical and institutional factors on the economic development of the late Russian empire. I reconstruct gross regional products and labor productivity for all provinces of the empire around 1900 for the first time. My estimates highlight substantial heterogeneity within a middle-income country. I show that both natural advantages – sea access, mineral resources, land abundance – and institutions, in particular the legacy of serfdom, account for the observed variation. I also provide evidence that market potential and specialization externalities played a role.
Keywords: Russia, national accounting, economic development, geography, institutions
JEL Classification: N13, N15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation