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Was Stalin Necessary for Russia’s Economic Development?

Author

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  • Cheremukhin, Anton
  • Golosov, Mikhail
  • Guriev, Sergei
  • Tsyvinski, Aleh

Abstract

This paper studies structural transformation of Soviet Russia in 1928-1940 from an agrarian to an industrial economy through the lens of a two-sector neoclassical growth model. We construct a large dataset that covers Soviet Russia during 1928-1940 and Tsarist Russia during 1885-1913. We use a two-sector growth model to compute sectoral TFPs as well as distortions and wedges in the capital, labor and product markets. We find that most wedges substantially increased in 1928-1935 and then fell in 1936-1940 relative to their 1885-1913 levels, while TFP remained generally below pre-WWI trends. Under the neoclassical growth model, projections of these estimated wedges imply that Stalin’s economic policies led to welfare loss of -24 percent of consumption in 1928-1940, but a +16 percent welfare gain after 1941. A representative consumer born at the start of Stalin’s policies in 1928 experiences a reduction in welfare of -1 percent of consumption, a number that does not take into account additional costs of political repression during this time period. We provide three additional counterfactuals: comparison with Japan, comparison with the New Economic Policy (NEP), and assuming alternative post-1940 growth scenarios.

Suggested Citation

  • Cheremukhin, Anton & Golosov, Mikhail & Guriev, Sergei & Tsyvinski, Aleh, 2013. "Was Stalin Necessary for Russia’s Economic Development?," CEPR Discussion Papers 9669, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9669
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Cai, Wenbiao, 2015. "Structural change accounting with labor market distortions," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 54-64.
    2. repec:ceh:journl:y:2017:v:2:p:9-34 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Cheremukhin, Anton & Golosov, Mikhail & Guriev, Sergei & Tsyvinski, Aleh, 2015. "The Economy of People’s Republic of China from 1953," CEPR Discussion Papers 10764, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Stijepic, Denis & Wagner, Helmut, 2015. "Structural Change, Aggregate Growth And Government Services," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112904, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Hansen, G.D. & Ohanian, L.E., 2016. "Neoclassical Models in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    industrialization; Japan; Russia; Stalin; unbalanced growth;

    JEL classification:

    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N24 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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