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CInSt Research Seminar "Technology Adoption in Agrarian Societies: the Effect of Volga Germans in Imperial Russia": Natalia Vasilenok (HSE University)

Natalia Vasilenok will present joint paper with Timur Natkhov "Technology Adoption in Agrarian Societies: the Effect of Volga Germans in Imperial Russia" on CInSt research seminar on December 5th.

SpeakerNatalia Vasilenok, Center for Institutional Studies, HSE University.

Abstract:
This paper examines technology adoption in pre-industrial societies. We use the case of a technologically advanced and spatially concentrated German mi- nority in Saratov province of the Russian Empire to study adoption patterns among Russian peasants in late 19th–early 20th century. We find that distance from German colonies predicts the prevalence of heavy ploughs, fanning mills and wheat sowing among Russians, who traditionally sowed rye and plowed with wooden ard (sokha). We show a significant rise in labor productivity in agricul- ture resulting from the adoption of heavy ploughs. However, we find no evidence for the adoption of non-codified knowledge like blacksmithing, carpentry, textile manufacture, tanning and other artisan skills. Hence, the adoption of advanced tools does not necessary induce the diffusion of skills required to produce those tools. This may well be the key to the problem of slow technological convergence.

Full text

Date: October 3rd, 2019, 6:10-7:30 pm.  
Location: K416, 11 Pokrovsky Boulevard, Moscow.
Working language: English.    
All welcome. If you don't have an HSE ID, please register before 2:00 PM on December 5th: cinst.hse.ru/register.