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Factory productivity and the concession system of incorporation in late Imperial Russia, 1894-1908


  • Amanda Gregg

    () (Yale University)


"In late Imperial Russia, commercial credit was scarce, and because the Empire had no general incorporation law, all firms wishing to incorporate needed to obtain the Tsar’s signature on their charters, a time-consuming and expensive process. Yet, over four thousand firms incorporated between 1700 and 1914. I identify the characteristics of firms choosing to incorporate and measure the gains to productivity and growth in machine power enjoyed by corporations from a novel panel database of manufactur- ing enterprises I compiled from Imperial Russian factory censuses conducted in 1894, 1900, and 1908. In the cross section, factories owned by corporations have higher av- erage revenue, bigger machines, and more workers. While the distribution of TFP for partnerships and single proprietorships has a long lower tail, the distribution for corporations does not. Factories that incorporate next period have higher average rev- enue per worker but not larger machines. After incorporating, however, factories have higher average revenue per worker and larger machines, suggesting the importance of incorporation for capital accumulation."

Suggested Citation

  • Amanda Gregg, 2014. "Factory productivity and the concession system of incorporation in late Imperial Russia, 1894-1908," Working Papers 14012, Economic History Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehs:wpaper:14012

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2007. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1351-1408.
    2. 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.
    3. Dennison,Tracy, 2011. "The Institutional Framework of Russian Serfdom," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521194488, September.
    4. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
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    Cited by:

    1. Amanda Gregg & Steven Nafziger, 2019. "Capital structure and corporate performance in late Imperial Russia," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(4), pages 446-481.
    2. Gregg, Amanda & Nafziger, Steven, 2020. "Financing nascent industry : Leverage, politics, and performance in Imperial Russia," BOFIT Discussion Papers 7/2020, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
    3. Guinnane, Timothy W. & Schneebacher, Jakob, 2020. "Enterprise form: Theory and history," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    4. Richard Brooks & Timothy W. Guinnane, 2017. "The Right to Associate and the Rights of Associations: Civil-Society Organizations in Prussia, 1794–1908," NBER Chapters, in: Organizations, Civil Society, and the Roots of Development, pages 291-329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Tomohiro Machikita & Tetsuji Okazaki, 2019. "Transition to a Modern Regime and Change in Plant Lifecycles: A Natural Experiment from Meiji Japan," CIGS Working Paper Series 19-006E, The Canon Institute for Global Studies.
    6. Tomihiro Machikita & Tetsuji Okazaki, 2019. "Transition to a Modern Regime and Change in PlantLifecycles: A Natural Experiment from Meiji Japan," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-1122, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.

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    JEL classification:

    • N00 - Economic History - - General - - - General


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