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Social Structure and Development: A Legacy of the Holocaust in Russia

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  • Daron Acemoglu
  • Tarek A. Hassan
  • James A. Robinson

Abstract

We document a statistical association between the severity of the persecution and mass murder of Jews (the Holocaust) by the Nazis during World War II and long-run economic and political outcomes within Russia. Cities that experienced the Holocaust most intensely have grown less, and cities as well as administrative districts (oblasts) where the Holocaust had the largest impact have worse economic and political outcomes since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Although we cannot rule out the possibility that these statistical relationships are caused by other factors, the overall patterns appear generally robust. We provide evidence on one possible mechanism that we hypothesize may link the Holocaust to the present---the change it induced in the social structure, in particular the size of the middle class, across different regions of Russia. Before World War II, Russian Jews were predominantly in white collar (middle class) occupations and the Holocaust appears to have had a large negative effect on the size of the middle class after the war.

Suggested Citation

  • Daron Acemoglu & Tarek A. Hassan & James A. Robinson, 2010. "Social Structure and Development: A Legacy of the Holocaust in Russia," NBER Working Papers 16083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16083
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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