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Economic Development of the Late Russian Empire in a Regional Perspective

38 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2015  

Andrei Markevich

New Economic School

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

Markevich, Andrei, Economic Development of the Late Russian Empire in a Regional Perspective (December 25, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Andrei Markevich (Contact Author)

New Economic School ( email )

100 Novaya Street
Moscow, 143025
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+74991293722 (Fax)


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