Видеозапись семинара "Minorities and Business: the Case of Russian Old Believers"
Vasily Rusanov - HSE, Center for Institutional Studies
In 19th century Russia, a close-knit and persecuted religious minority, the Old Believers, controlled a large share of textile manufacturing. I estimate the production functions of the textile factories of Moscow province (the main center of Old Believers’ business) in 1882–1883, using their share in the population within a 7 km range from the factory as a proxy for the status of Old Believers' factory. The Old Believers' factories had a higher Total Factor Productivity, but this effect is only observed in the districts that generally had a high share of Old Believers. I interpret this as evidence of the social capital theory of this minority's economic prominence, indicating the importance of business networks that developed in the Old Believers' communes. Following the existing literature on the role of Protestants in the economic development of Europe, I also control for human capital and geography factors and do not find that they explain the business success of Old Believers.
Keywords: Russian economic history, Minorities entrepreneurship, Russian Empire, Minorities and social capital, Old Believers
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