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Where is the Backward Peasant? Regional Crop Yields on Common and Private Land in Russia 1883-1913

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Author Info

  • Michael Kopsidis

    ()
    (Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO))

  • Katja Bruisch

    ()
    (German Historical Institute Moscow (DHI Moskau))

  • Daniel W. Bromley

    ()
    (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Abstract

This paper deals with agricultural dynamics in late-Imperial Russia. Based upon a comprehensive micro-level data set on annual yields between 1883 and 1913, we provide insight into regional differences of agricultural growth and the development prospects of Russian agriculture before WWI. Making use of the fact that— unique in Europe— contemporary Russian statistics distinguished between “privately owned” and mostly communally governed “peasant” land, we are able to test the implications of different landtenure systems for agricultural growth. In a broader sense we will challenge the stereotype of the “backward” peasant and the common narrative of Russia as an exception to the pan-European picture of economic development during the era of industrialization.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Historical Economics Society (EHES) in its series Working Papers with number 0046.

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Length: 60 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0046

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Keywords: Russia; land productivity; peasant communal agriculture; land tenure;

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  1. Michael Kopsidis & Nikolaus Wolf, 2012. "Agricultural Productivity Across Prussia During the Industrial Revolution: A ThŸnen Perspective," Working Papers 0013, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  2. Atwood, David A., 1990. "Land registration in Africa: The impact on agricultural production," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 659-671, May.
  3. Besley, Timothy, 1995. "Property Rights and Investment Incentives: Theory and Evidence from Ghana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 903-37, October.
  4. Kopsidis, Michael & Hockmann, Heinrich, 2010. "Technical change in Westphalian peasant agriculture and the rise of the Ruhr, circa 1830–1880," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(02), pages 209-237, August.
  5. Robert C. Allen, 1999. "Tracking the agricultural revolution in England," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 52(2), pages 209-235, 05.
  6. Wilbur, Elvira M., 1983. "Was Russian Peasant Agriculture Really That Impoverished? New Evidence from a Case Study from the “Impoverished Center” at the End of the Nineteenth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(01), pages 137-144, March.
  7. Sjaastad, Espen & Bromley, Daniel W., 1997. "Indigenous land rights in sub-Saharan Africa: Appropriation, security and investment demand," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 549-562, January.
  8. Edella Schlager & Elinor Ostrom, 1992. "Property-Rights Regimes and Natural Resources: A Conceptual Analysis," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 68(3), pages 249-262.
  9. Yujiro Hayami, 1996. "The Peasant in Economic Modernization," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1157-1167.
  10. Jikun Huang, 2000. "Responsiveness, Flexibility, and Market Liberalization in China's Agriculture," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1133-1139.
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