IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wil/wileco/2013-15.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Russian Peasants and Politicians: The Political Economy of Local Agricultural Support in Nizhnii Novgorod Province, 1864-1914

Author

Abstract

This paper explores the local political economy of early agronomic efforts in Tsarist Russia by undertaking a two-part analysis of the role of the zemstvo -- a 19th century institution of local self-government -- in improving local agricultural conditions. First, we investigate the agronomic activities of various levels of government in Russia over the last fifty years of the Tsarist era. After discussing the relatively limited role played by the central ministries and peasant institutions of self-government, we follow Nafziger (2011) in undertaking a qualitative and cross-district empirical analysis of how variation in economic conditions and the political structure of the zemstvo assemblies may have motivated zemstvo expenditures on agriculture. This exercise finds evidence suggesting that the peasantry -- the population most likely affected by agronomic efforts -- had an influence on the policies of the zemstvo, despite rarely holding majority positions in the assemblies. To explore the mechanisms underlying these results, we turn to a case study of agricultural development and zemstvo policies in Nizhnii Novgorod province. We draw on archival records, contemporary publications, and newspaper accounts to document these factors, both at the provincial level and for one relatively non-agricultural district (Semenov). Our findings suggest that the policy preferences of the local elites and of leaders of the executive committees of the institution likely mattered more than the composition of the zemstvo assembly for the resulting outcomes. By shedding light on the political mechanisms behind local public support for agronomic efforts, this chapter makes an initial step towards a fuller account of the early stages of Russia's agrarian transformation.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven Nafziger, 2013. "Russian Peasants and Politicians: The Political Economy of Local Agricultural Support in Nizhnii Novgorod Province, 1864-1914," Department of Economics Working Papers 2013-15, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  • Handle: RePEc:wil:wileco:2013-15
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://web.williams.edu/Economics/wp/Nafziger_PeasantandPoliticians_Jan2013.pdf
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Nafziger, Steven, 2011. "Did Ivan's vote matter? The political economy of local democracy in Tsarist Russia," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(03), pages 393-441, December.
    2. Leonard,Carol S., 2015. "Agrarian Reform in Russia," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107546233, October.
    3. Wallace E. Huffman & Mark McNulty, 1985. "Endogenous Local Public Extension Policy," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 67(4), pages 761-768.
    4. Olmstead,Alan L. & Rhode,Paul W., 2008. "Creating Abundance," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521857116, Fall.
    5. Swinnen, Johan F. M. & Gorter, Harry de & Rausser, Gordon C. & Banerjee, Anurag N., 2000. "The political economy of public research investment and commodity policies in agriculture: an empirical study," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 22(2), pages 111-122, March.
    6. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 2006. "Decentralisation and Accountability in Infrastructure Delivery in Developing Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 101-127, January.
    7. Tracy Dennison & Steven Nafziger, 2011. "Micro-Perspectives on Living Standards in Nineteenth-Century Russia," Department of Economics Working Papers 2011-07, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Russia; agronomy; political economy; agriculture;

    JEL classification:

    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N53 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wil:wileco:2013-15. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Stephen Sheppard). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/edwilus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.