Career Incentives of Governors in Late Tsarist Russia

36 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2015

See all articles by Gunes Gokmen

Gunes Gokmen

New Economic School

Dmitrii Kofanov

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Date Written: April 15, 2015


Recent empirical studies show that career advancement may be employed as a tool to improve the efficiency of a political hierarchy. This paper investigates whether the central authorities in the Russian Empire resorted to career advancement incentives to improve the performance of provincial governors. To that end, from historical sources, we have constructed a new panel database of individual characteristics and career tracks of the majority of Russian governors in 91 provinces during 1895-1914. Measuring a governor's performance by the intensity of peasant revolts and worker strikes in the province under his rule, we provide evidence that the central administration rewarded better performing governors only in the peripheral provinces (oblasts), but not in the main provinces (gubernias). These results are robust to various sensitivity tests. In addition, we show that political connections had no significant effect on career mobility, and the performance evaluation of central authorities did not change significantly in the aftermath of 1905-1907 revolution.

Keywords: Career Incentives, Political Hierarchy, Russian Empire.

JEL Classification: H11, J63, N43, P3

Suggested Citation

Gokmen, Gunes and Kofanov, Dmitrii, Career Incentives of Governors in Late Tsarist Russia (April 15, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Gunes Gokmen (Contact Author)

New Economic School ( email )

100A Novaya Street
Moscow, Skolkovo 143026


Dmitrii Kofanov

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

716 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics