Economics at your fingertips  

Skilled immigrants and technology adoption: Evidence from the German settlements in the Russian empire

Timur Natkhov and Natalia Vasilenok

Explorations in Economic History, 2021, vol. 81, issue C

Abstract: This paper examines knowledge spillovers across ethnic boundaries. Using the case of skilled German immigrants in the Russian Empire, we study technology adoption among Russian peasants. We find that distance to German settlements predicts the prevalence of heavy iron ploughs, fanning mills and wheat sowing among Russians, who traditionally ploughed with a light wooden ard and sowed rye. The main channel of technology adoption was German fairs. We show that heavy ploughs increased the labor productivity of Russian peasants. However, communication barriers precluded Russians from adopting skill-intensive occupations like blacksmithing, mechanics, carpentry, and other crafts. The results suggest that skilled immigrants may enhance local development through the introduction of advanced tools without transmitting their skills to a receiving society.

Keywords: Skilled immigration; Technology adoption; Agriculture; Russian Empire (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I15 N33 N53 O15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2021.101399

Access Statistics for this article

Explorations in Economic History is currently edited by R.H. Steckel

More articles in Explorations in Economic History from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Catherine Liu ().

Page updated 2021-12-25
Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:81:y:2021:i:c:s0014498321000176