Economic Effects of the Abolition of Serfdom: Evidence from the Russian Empire

127 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2015 Last revised: 19 Nov 2018

See all articles by Andrei Markevich

Andrei Markevich

New Economic School

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

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Date Written: February 2015

Abstract

We document substantial increases in agricultural productivity, industrial output and peasantsÂ’ nutrition in Imperial Russia as a result of the abolition of serfdom in 1861. Before the emancipation, provinces where serfs constituted the majority of agricultural laborers lagged behind provinces that primarily relied on free labor. The emancipation led to a significant but partial catch up. Better incentives of peasants resulting from the cessation of ratchet effect were a likely mechanism behind a relatively fast positive effect of reform on agricultural productivity. The land reform, which instituted communal land tenure after the emancipation, diminished growth in productivity in repartition communes.

Keywords: development, forced labor, Russian empire, serfdom

JEL Classification: J3, N33, P4

Suggested Citation

Markevich, Andrei and Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, Economic Effects of the Abolition of Serfdom: Evidence from the Russian Empire (February 2015). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP10398. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2562923

Andrei Markevich (Contact Author)

New Economic School ( email )

100 Novaya Street
Skolkovo
Moscow, 143025
Russia
+79629851892 (Phone)
+74991293722 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://fir.nes.ru/en/people/professors/Pages/amarkevich.aspx

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

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