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Russian Economic History: An Open Area for Research Simeon Djankov Rector, New Economic School Academic Advisor, HSE-NES Econ. History Lab European University,

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Presentation on theme: "Russian Economic History: An Open Area for Research Simeon Djankov Rector, New Economic School Academic Advisor, HSE-NES Econ. History Lab European University,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Russian Economic History: An Open Area for Research Simeon Djankov Rector, New Economic School Academic Advisor, HSE-NES Econ. History Lab European University, St. Petersburg, Oct. 10. 2014

2 2 Why Russian Economic History 1.Rich imperial past 2.Diversity in ethnicity and culture 3.Plenty of natural experiments Agrarian reforms under Stolypin, 1906 The October revolution, 1917 The New Economic Policy, 1921- Deportations, 1937- 4.Good statistical sources

3 Why Open Area for Research 1.Largely populated by historians 2.Lacks rigorous empirical work 3.Recent advances in economic theory Institutional economics The influence of culture Economic growth 4.Link between past and present Example: privatization 3

4 HSE-NES Lab on Econ. History 1.Established in July 2014 2.Both economists and historians 3.Main task: open the field to new researchers 4.Two immediate tasks Create databases and make them public Do research 4

5 Example 1: Stalin’s Deportations 1.The effects of Stalin’s deportations on trust 2.Author: Roman Levkin, Duke University 3.History Stalin deported 2.8 mln people to Siberia and Central Asia Some ethnic groups, e.g., Germans, Crimean Tatars, not rehabilitated In 1991, a referendum on the future of the Soviet Union In 2007, survey on trust in central authority (the President) 4.Result: regions with many deportees do not trust central authority 5

6 Deportations by 1950, Number of people 6

7 How Large Are the Effects 1.A 1% increase in deportations decreases the percentage of votes in favor of the Soviet Union by 0.75% 2.A 1% increase in deportations decreases the percentage of trust in the President by 5% 7

8 Example 2: Gulag Archipelago 1.The political legacy of the Gulag Archipelago 2.Authors: Natalia Kapelko, Yandex, and Andrei Markevich, NES 3.History June 27, 1929. Decree “On the Use of Labor of Convicted Criminals” 179 thousand prisoners in 1930 1.9 million in 1938, 2.5 million prisoners in 1951 158 Gulags operated in 1951 4.Result: Regions with Gulags vote anti-communist in 1996 8

9 Gulags in 1951, map of locations 9

10 Presidential Elections 1996, actual votes 10

11 How Large Are the Effects 1.The past location of a Gulag camp in the neighborhood cut communist share of voters by 2 percentage points 2.Yeltsin won by 54.4% of the vote, so a significant effect 3.Would a Zyuganov win have changed Russia? 11

12 Example 3: Governors in Tzarist Russia 1.Career Incentives of Governors in Late Tzarist Russia 2.Authors: Gunes Gokman, NES, and Dmitry Kofanov, RANEPA 3.History Career tracks of governors in 91 provinces during 1895-1914 Intensity of peasant revolts and worker strikes The central government rewarded better-performing governors in the peripheral provinces Promotion to Petersburg, State Council or Senate 4.Result: Successful dealing with revolts triples the chance of promotion 12

13 What Do Such Studies Show 1.The effect of institutional choice on political outcomes, and from there on new institutions –For example, Stalin’s atrocities in part prevented Zyuganov from returning Russia to communism 2.Hysteresis in policy choices too –For example, regions which did not support agrarian reform in 1905-1906 also failed to support privatization in the 1990s 3.What is Russia’s economic path 13


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