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Russian Inequality on the Eve of Revolution

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  • Steven Nafziger
  • Peter H. Lindert

Abstract

Just how unequal were the incomes of different classes of Russians on the eve of Revolution, relative to other countries, to Russia’s earlier history, and to Russia’s income distribution today? Careful weighing of an eclectic data set provides provisional answers. We provide detailed income estimates for economic and social classes in each of the 50 provinces of European Russia. In 1904, on the eve of military defeat and the 1905 Revolution, Russian income inequality was middling by the standards of that era, and less severe than inequality has become today in such countries as China, the United States, and Russia itself. We also note how the interplay of some distinctive fiscal and relative-price features of Imperial Russia might have shaped the now-revealed level of inequality.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18383.

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Date of creation: Sep 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18383

Note: DAE LS PE
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  1. Fenske, James, 2010. "Land abundance and economic institutions: Egba land and slavery, 1830-1914," MPRA Paper 22959, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. 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.
  3. Steven Nafziger & Peter H. Lindert, 2012. "Russian Inequality on the Eve of Revolution," NBER Working Papers 18383, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Facundo Alvaredo & Anthony B Atkinson, 2010. "Colonial Rule, Apartheid and Natural Resources: Top Incomes in South Africa 1903-2005," OxCarre Working Papers 046, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
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  6. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," MPRA Paper 4134, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Kung, James Kai-sing & Wu, Xiaogang & Wu, Yuxiao, 2012. "Inequality of land tenure and revolutionary outcome: An economic analysis of China's land reform of 1946–1952," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 482-497.
  8. Kuznets, Simon, 1976. " Demographic Aspects of the Size Distribution of Income: An Exploratory Essay," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 1-94, October.
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  10. Morrisson, Christian & Snyder, Wayne, 2000. "The income inequality of France in historical perspective," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(01), pages 59-83, April.
  11. Nafziger, Steven, 2011. "Did Ivan's vote matter? The political economy of local democracy in Tsarist Russia," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(03), pages 393-441, December.
  12. Nafziger, Steven, 2010. "Peasant communes and factor markets in late nineteenth-century Russia," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 381-402, October.
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  14. Bergson, Abram, 1984. "Income Inequality under Soviet Socialism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 1052-99, September.
  15. Andrei Markevich & Mark Harrison, 2010. "Great War, Civil War, and Recovery: Russia’National Income, 1913 to 1928," Working Papers w0146, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
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Cited by:
  1. Steven Nafziger & Peter Lindert, 2011. "Russian Inequality on the Eve of Revolution," Department of Economics Working Papers 2013-13, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Sep 2013.
  2. Milanovic, Branko, 2013. "The inequality possibility frontier : extensions and new applications," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6449, The World Bank.

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