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Micro-Perspectives on Living Standards in Nineteenth-Century Russia

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Abstract

In recent years economic historians have turned new attention to questions about standards of living in pre-revolutionary Russia. However, most of the studies to date have focused on a narrow range of measures for predominantly urban areas. We expand on the existing literature with a micro-level analysis, which employs a broader set of measures of wellbeing for a small rural region in central Russia. Our findings suggest that living standards were improving over the nineteenth century, even in such seemingly less dynamic rural areas. Income and consumption patterns, human capital development, and the distribution of resources in the countryside were more variegated than a ‘subsistence’ approach has typically allowed. The micro-level context presented here suggests that state and local institutions should be emphasized in future analyses of rural living standards in pre-Soviet Russia.

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File URL: http://web.williams.edu/Economics/wp/Nafziger_MicroLivingStandards.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Williams College in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 2011-07.

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Length: 59 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wil:wileco:2011-07

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Keywords: Russia; livings standards; economic history;

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  2. Robert C. Allen, 2003. "Soviet Development in World-Historical Perspective, from Farm to Factory: A Reinterpretation of the Soviet Industrial Revolution
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  4. 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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  6. James Fenske, 2012. "Land abundance and economic institutions: Egba land and slavery, 1830–1914," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 65(2), pages 527-555, 05.
  7. Robert C. Allen & Jean‐Pascal Bassino & Debin Ma & Christine Moll‐Murata & Jan Luiten Van Zanden, 2011. "Wages, prices, and living standards in China, 1738–1925: in comparison with Europe, Japan, and India," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 64(s1), pages 8-38, February.
  8. 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.
  9. Lindert, Peter H. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1982. "Revising England's social tables 1688-1812," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 385-408, October.
  10. 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.
  11. Branko Milanovic & Peter H. Lindert & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2011. "Pre‐Industrial Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(551), pages 255-272, March.
  12. 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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Cited by:
  1. Milanovic, Branko, 2013. "The inequality possibility frontier : extensions and new applications," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6449, The World Bank.
  2. Steven Nafziger, 2013. "Russian Peasants and Politicians: The Political Economy of Local Agricultural Support in Nizhnii Novgorod Province, 1864-1914," Department of Economics Working Papers 2013-15, Department of Economics, Williams College.

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