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Colonization and changing social structure: Evidence from Kazakhstan

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  • Aldashev, Gani
  • Guirkinger, Catherine

Abstract

We study how Russian colonization of the Kazakh steppes in the late 19th century influenced the evolution of traditional institutions of Kazakhs. Using a rich dataset constructed from Russian colonial expedition materials, we find that during the transition from nomadic pastoralism to a semi-sedentary pastoralist-agricultural system, Kazakhs’ traditional communes shrank, property rights on land became more individualized, and households became less likely to pool labor for farming. We argue that two main forces behind this evolution were increasing land pressure and technological change. The speed and the magnitude of these adjustments were much larger than usually assumed in most of development economics literature on traditional institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Aldashev, Gani & Guirkinger, Catherine, 2017. "Colonization and changing social structure: Evidence from Kazakhstan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 413-430.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:127:y:2017:i:c:p:413-430
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2016.12.005
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    N55; O13; Q15; Z13; Extended family; Clan; Property rights; Institutional change; Colonization; Kazakhstan;

    JEL classification:

    • N55 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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