Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Embedded institutions and the persistence of large farms in Russia


Author Info

  • Koester, Ulrich
  • Petrick, Martin


Differences in farm structures between Russia and western market economies can hardly be made consistent with the neoclassical textbook idea of a technologically determined farm size operating in a perfect market environment. The main aim of the paper is to identify embedded institutions that provide an explanation for the persistent differences. It is shown that these institutions vary widely across countries. We argue that the historical contingency of a patrimonial society that is both hierarchical and egalitarian also has an important bearing on the current persistence of large farming structures in Russia. The cultural beliefs based on this contingency explain the relative absence of entrepreneurial attitude in the rural society, the lack of trust in formal transactions with strangers, and the unwillingness to deviate from collective behaviour. Managers of former collective farms together with regional government authorities had strong incentives to secure their status-quo rents by inhibiting individualisation in agriculture. In addition, based on their ideological background in communism and their lifelong experience, many of them simply could not imagine how food security and social safety in the countryside should be provided without large farms. It is argued that the evolution of super-large farms could only arise because cooperative and corporate farms survived up to bankruptcy and because embedded institutions impeded the foundation of family farms. Mental models of policy makers did contribute to the amalgamation of corporations and cooperatives into super-large farms. The paper ends with an evaluation from the economic point of view of the existence of super-large farms and with a projection of what may happen in the future. -- Die Unterschiede in den Betriebsstrukturen zwischen Russland und den westlichen Marktwirtschaften lassen sich kaum mit dem neoklassischen Lehrbuchmodell einer technologisch determinierten Betriebsgröße in einem vollkommenen Markt in Einklang bringen. Das Hauptziel des Artikels besteht deshalb darin, die eingebetteten Institutionen zu identifizieren, die für die anhaltenden Unterschiede eine Erklärung liefern können. Es wird gezeigt, dass diese Institutionen von Land zu Land stark variieren. Wir vertreten den Standpunkt, dass die historische Bedingtheit der russischen Gesellschaft, die sowohl hierarchisch als auch egalitär geprägt ist, einen bedeutenden Einfluss auf das derzeitige Weiterbestehen der großbetrieblichen Strukturen in Russland hat. Die so geprägten kulturellen Vorstellungen und Überzeugungen der Handelnden erklären den relativen Mangel von unternehmerischem Verhalten in der ländlichen Gesellschaft, das fehlende Vertrauen in formale Transaktionen mit Fremden und den Unwillen, vom Kollektivverhalten abzuweichen. Die Leiter der ehemaligen Kollektivbetriebe und regionale Verwaltungen hatten starke Anreize, die Status-quo Renten ihrer Einnahmen zu sichern, indem sie eine Individualisierung der Großbetriebe verhinderten. Hinzu kommt, dass sich viele von ihnen aufgrund ihres ideologischen Hintergrunds im Kommunismus und ihrer lebenslangen Erfahrung einfach nicht vorstellen konnten, wie Nahrungsmittelsicherheit und soziale Absicherung auf dem Lande ohne Großbetriebe funktionieren sollten. Es wird vermutet, dass sich die neuerdings entstandenen, riesigen Agroholdings nur entwickeln konnten, weil die bisherigen Großbetriebe nicht liquidiert wurden und eingebettete Institutionen die Gründung von Familienbetrieben verhinderten. Die mentalen Modelle der Politiker trugen daher zum Verschmelzen der Großbetriebe zu Agroholdings bei. Der Artikel schließt mit einer Bewertung der Agroholdings aus ökonomischer Sicht und einem Ausblick in die Zukunft.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO) in its series IAMO Discussion Papers with number 131.

as in new window
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:iamodp:131

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Theodor-Lieser-Strasse 2, 06120 Halle(Saale)
Phone: (+49) (0) 345 / 29 28 0
Fax: (+49) (0) 345 / 29 28 199
Web page:
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Embedded institutions; agricultural transition; farm restructuring; agroholdings; Russia; Eingebettete Institutionen; Transformation im Agrarsektor; Umstrukturierung; Agroholdings; Russland.;

Find related papers by JEL classification:


No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.


Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Petrick, Martin & Wandel, Jürgen & Karsten, Katharina, 2011. "Farm restructuring and agricultural recovery in Kazakhstan's grain region: An update," IAMO Discussion Papers 137, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO).
  2. Petrick, Martin & Wandel, Jürgen & Karsten, Katharina, 2013. "Rediscovering the Virgin Lands: Agricultural Investment and Rural Livelihoods in a Eurasian Frontier Area," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 164-179.


This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:iamodp:131. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.