The Economic Effects of the Abolition of Serfdom: Evidence from the Russian Empire
Andrei Markevich () and
Ekaterina Zhuravskaya ()
No w0237, Working Papers from Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR)
We document very large increases in agricultural productivity, peasants’ living standards, and industrial development in Imperial Russia as a result of the abolition of serfdom in 1861. A counterfactual exercise suggests that if serfs were freed in 1820, by 1913 Russia would have been about 50% richer compared to what it actually was. We construct a novel province-level panel dataset of development outcomes and conduct a difference-in-differences analysis of the effects of the abolition of serfdom, relying on cross-sectional variation in the shares of serfs and the timing of the different stages of reform, controlling for unobserved variation across provinces and over time and province-specific trends. We disentangle the two stages of the abolition of serfdom: the emancipation of serfs and land reform, and find that, in contrast to a large positive effect of emancipation, land reform negatively affected agricultural productivity. We provide evidence that better incentives resulting from the cessation of the ratchet effect in the landlordpeasant relationship is a likely mechanism behind the positive effect of emancipation, and the increase in the power of the re-partition peasant commune is a mechanism behind the negative effect of the land reform.
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his
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)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:cfr:cefirw:w0237
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in Working Papers from Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR) Contact information at EDIRC.
Series data maintained by Julia Babich ().