Historical Roots of Regional Development
Modern economic research shows that institutions, human capital and social norms have a decisive influence on economic development. Because these factors exhibit significant inertia and path dependency, the study is inherently historical. For this reason, an increasing number of researchers are realizing that history is an important source of data, a `` natural laboratory '' where economists can confront their theories with evidence.
Russian economic history allows for testing theories of economic growth, the accumulation of human capital, and policy evaluation. Russian historical statistics are available not only at the national, but also at the regional level (provinces, counties, settlements), which creates additional opportunities for comparative studies. High variation in geographical and climatic conditions between regions, ethnic and religious heterogeneity, and the presence of many ‘’natural experiments’’ of history (colonization, migration, changes in the administrative-territorial division, economic reforms) allow the use of exogenous variations for econometric analysis, and with greater confidence study causal relationships between the phenomena of interest.
Our research interests and research program correspond to the following list of recently completed, ongoing and planned projects.
1. Human capital. The accumulation of human capital, the formation of educational institutions and a national scientific school is the most important research task for economic historians in all countries. At this stage, data is being collected on the project on the introduction of compulsory primary education in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The project "Political Economy of Rural Primary Education in Tsarist Russia".
2. The construction of railways and their impact on the economic and social development of Russia is a topic with great potential for a modern economic historian. With a quantitative assessment of the railroads' impact on the US economic growth, the `` cliometric revolution '' began in economic history in the early 1960s. The collection and digitization of data on the construction of railways in Russia will make it possible to publish several articles on related topics. Project: “Transport Infrastructure and Market Integration: Evidence from Late Imperial Russia”.
3. Institutions of property rights and economic incentives. The establishment of private ownership of land as a result of Stolypin's agrarian reform is one of the rare examples of the introduction of market incentives by the state. Detailed statistical data from the beginning of the 20th century make it possible to quantify the effect of this reform on productivity and technological equipment in the agricultural sector of pre-revolutionary Russia. In addition, the exit of peasants from the community is an example of an economic decision, on the basis of which one can test hypotheses about rational choice and revealed preferences. The project: `` Land Rights and Technology Adoption: the Effect of Stolypin's Agrarian Reform ''.
Timur Natkhov, Natalia Vasilenok “Infant Mortality in Late Imperial Russia: Patterns and Explanations”, Revise and Resubmit, Journal of Economic History.
Timur Natkhov, Natalia Vasilenok “Technology Adoption in Agrarian Societies: the Effect of Volga Germans in Imperial Russia”, HSE Working Paper Basic Research Series, 220/EC/2019Andrea Matranga, Timur Natkhov “All Along theWatchtower: Defense Lines and the Origins of Russian Serfdom”. Mimeo.
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