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How Could Russia Have Developed without the Revolution of 1917?


  • Ivan Korolev


This paper uses modern econometric approaches to program evaluation with one treated unit to predict how Russia could have developed without the Revolution of 1917. I construct the counterfactual for Russia for 1917–1938 using several variations of the synthetic control method, which is the preferred approach based on a number of placebo tests. My counterfactuals suggests that without the Revolution, Russia would probably have avoided the dramatic economic decline of the early 1920s and would have grown steadily throughout most of the 1920s. The predictions for the 1930s are less clear: while most specifications suggest that the counterfactual Russia would have reached a lower level of economic development than the Soviet Union, the results are sensitive to the choice of specification, and the placebo tests suggest that there is a lot of uncertainty about the results as the forecasting horizon becomes longer.

Suggested Citation

  • Ivan Korolev, 2021. "How Could Russia Have Developed without the Revolution of 1917?," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 144, pages 75-112.
  • Handle: RePEc:adr:anecst:y:2021:i:144:p:75-112

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    Cited by:

    1. Echevarría, Cruz A. & Hasancebi, Serhat & García-Enríquez, Javier, 2022. "Economic Effects of Macao’s Integration with Mainland China: A Causal Inference Study," Journal of Economic Integration, Center for Economic Integration, Sejong University, vol. 37(2), pages 179-215.

    More about this item


    Russian Revolution; Panel Data; Synthetic Control Method; Lasso;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C01 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Econometrics
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • N00 - Economic History - - General - - - General
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-


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