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Was Stalin Necessary for Russia's Economic Development?

Anton Cheremukhin, Mikhail Golosov, Sergei Guriev () and Aleh Tsyvinski

No w19425, Sciences Po publications from Sciences Po

Abstract: This paper studies structural transformation of Soviet Russia in 1928-1940 from an agrarian to an industrial economy through the lens of a two-sector neoclassical growth model. We construct a large dataset that covers Soviet Russia during 1928-1940 and Tsarist Russia during 1885-1913. We use a two-sector growth model to compute sectoral TFPs as well as distortions and wedges in the capital, labor and product markets. We find that most wedges substantially increased in 1928-1935 and then fell in 1936-1940 relative to their 1885-1913 levels, while TFP remained generally below pre-WWI trends. Under the neoclassical growth model, projections of these estimated wedges imply that Stalin's economic policies led to welfare loss of -24 percent of consumption in 1928-1940, but a +16 percent welfare gain after 1941. A representative consumer born at the start of Stalin's policies in 1928 experiences a reduction in welfare of -1 percent of consumption, a number that does not take into account additional costs of political repression during this time period. We provide three additional counterfactuals: comparison with Japan, comparison with the New Economic Policy (NEP), and assuming alternative post-1940 growth scenarios.

JEL-codes: E6 N23 N24 O4 O41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cis, nep-gro, nep-his and nep-mac
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
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Working Paper: Was Stalin Necessary for Russia’s Economic Development? (2013) Downloads
Working Paper: Was Stalin Necessary for Russia's Economic Development? (2013) Downloads
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