New Russian Economic History

Journal of Economic Literature

94 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2021 Last revised: 22 Apr 2024

See all articles by Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Sergei Guriev

Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Andrei Markevich

University of Helsinki - Faculty of Social Sciences; New Economic School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 13, 2021


This survey discusses recent developments in the growing literature on the Russian economic history of the 19th and 20th centuries. Using novel data and modern empirical methods, this research generates new insights and provides important lessons for development economics and political economy. We organize the discussion around four strands of this literature. First, we summarize and put in comparative perspective research on the long-term trends in economic development and living standards, which shows that throughout history Russia significantly underperformed advanced economies. We also compile reliable quantifications of the human cost of Stalin's dictatorship. Second, we discuss new studies of imperial Russia that partially confirm Gerschenkron's classic conjecture on the institutional explanation for Russia's relatively low level of economic development and on the causes of the revolution. The third strand of the literature focuses on the Soviet period and explains its slowdown over time and the eventual collapse of the system by the command economy's inability to provide incentives to individual agents. The fourth strand documents the long-term economic, social, and political consequences of large-scale historical experiments that took place during both the imperial and the Soviet periods. We conclude by discussing the lessons from these four strands of the literature and highlight open questions for future research.

Suggested Citation

Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina and Guriev, Sergei and Markevich, Andrei, New Russian Economic History (November 13, 2021). Journal of Economic Literature, Available at SSRN: or

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya (Contact Author)

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014

Sergei Guriev

Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) ( email )

27 rue Saint-Guillaume
Paris Cedex 07, 75337


Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

Andrei Markevich

University of Helsinki - Faculty of Social Sciences ( email )


New Economic School ( email )

45 Skolkovskoe shosse
Moscow, 121353

HOME PAGE: http://

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

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics