The Social and Economic Development of Russia’s Regions, 1800-2000 Data-hub 
Tuesday 20th April, Online
7 am PDT, 10 am EDT, 3 pm BST, 4 pm CEST, 5 pm MSK

Russian history has so far played a rather modest role in the dynamically expanding field of knowledge known as global history. This was due in the very first place to the absence of good and readily accessible data in the data-hubs and large data-sets that have been instrumental in the rise of the discipline. This in spite of the fact that the scope and quality of Russian statistics of the past few centuries are of exceptionally high standards compared to many other countries.

The New Economic School (Moscow) and the International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam) took up the challenge to bring Russian data to a global audience by bringing them online. Standardized, well-annotated, and with a regional break-down, essential data are made available on population, labour, industrial output and agricultural output for five cross-sections of Russian history of the 18th-21st centuries. The repository caters to the needs of the scholarly community, teachers and students in the social sciences and humanities, and to comparative and transnational research agendas on social and economic development.

CEPR marks the official launch of the Electronic Repository of Russian Historical Statistics (ERRHS) with an online public event. Project leaders Gijs Kessler (IISH) and Andrei Markevich (NES and CEPR) talk about their mission and motivation in creating the data-hub and present two use cases of research on Russia’s social and economic development based on the data. Economist and economic historian Amanda Gregg (Middlebury College), a leading specialist on Russian economic history, will act as a discussant.


  • Welcome by moderator (5 minutes)
  • Introduction ERRHS (10 minutes)
  • Use-case 1: Andrei Markevich, “Historical Regional GDP estimates and Russian economic development” (10 minutes)
  • Use-case 2: Gijs Kessler & Timur Valetov, “Occupational change and industrialization in Russia and the Soviet Union, 1900-2000”(10 minutes)
  • Discussant:  Amanda Gregg (10 minutes)
  • Questions (20 minutes)

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Ruben Enikolopov, Alexey Makarin, Maria Petrova, 17 December 2019

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Irena Grosfeld, Seyhun Orcan Sakalli, Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 03 October 2019

It is commonly argued that political instability increases the likelihood of civil conflicts, while economic downturns can trigger civil conflict and aggravate ethnic violence. This column examines how political and economic factors interact to drive pogroms in an environment of widespread antisemitism, using data from the Russian Empire of the 19th and early 20th centuries. It finds that pogrom waves took place when and only when economic shocks coincided with political turmoil, and that occupational segregation between the Jews and the majority played an important role in triggering ethnic violence.  

Çağatay Bircan, Ralph De Haas, 10 August 2019

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Matěj Bělín, Jan Hanousek, 29 April 2019

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Andrei Markevich, 09 March 2019

Prior to World War I, many authorities believed that countries with substantial agrarian sectors and grain exports, including the Russian Empire, could overcome war hardships more easily than those countries that imported grain. This column asks why the experts got it wrong in the case of Russia, and concludes that the economics and politics of the Russian grain and labour markets provide the answer. It was impossible simultaneously to mobilise 15 million males into the Russian army, procure the grain to feed them as soldiers, and avoid revolution. 

Filip Novokmet, Thomas Piketty, Gabriel Zucman, 09 November 2017

Russia has undergone a dramatic economic and political transformation since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990-1991, yet the consequences on the distribution of income and wealth are not very well documented and understood. This column attempts to combine the various available data sources in order to provide consistent series on the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth in Russia from the Soviet period until the present day.

Stelios Michalopoulos, Elias Papaioannou, 08 March 2017

Over the past decades, economists working on growth have ‘rediscovered’ the importance of history, leading to the emergence of a vibrant, far-reaching inter-disciplinary stream of work. This column introduces the third and final eBook in our three-part series which examines key themes in this emergent literature and discusses the impact they have on our understanding of the long-run influence of historical events on current economics. This volume focuses on the Americas and Europe and examines how events from history have helped shape their post-war economic identities.

Ralph De Haas, Steven Poelhekke, 22 September 2016

The extraordinary expansion in global mining activity over the last two decades, and its increasing concentration in emerging markets, has reignited the debate over the impact of mining on local economic activity. This column analyses how the presence of nearby mines influences firms in eight countries with large manufacturing and mining sectors. Mines are found to out-compete local manufacturing firms for inputs, labour, and infrastructure. However, mining activity is found to improve the business environment on a wider geographic scale.

Matthieu Crozet, Julian Hinz, 05 July 2016

Economic sanctions serve as a foreign policy tool, but they can also hurt domestic firms doing business in the target country. This column looks at the effects of sanctions imposed by 37 countries on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. The estimated loss of exports to Russia totalled $3.2 billion per month between December 2013 and June 2015. This loss was mostly incurred by European economies and in products not targeted by retaliations. French firm-level data points to a deterioration of trade finance services as the dominant mechanism.

Ruben Enikolopov, Maria Petrova, Konstantin Sonin, 20 June 2016

In addition to the traditional mass media, social media has become a channel through which citizens can hold public officials and corporate leaders to account. But social media commentators can be vulnerable to manipulation and reputational damage. This column uses data on a popular blogger in Russia to show that blogs are critical of corruption in state-controlled companies can lead to decreased profit diversion and corruption by the targeted companies. Social media appears to play an important role in improving accountability, particularly when traditional media is censored or political competition is limited.

Çağatay Bircan, Ralph De Haas, 15 May 2015

Innovation enhances economic growth but the mechanisms that underpin the spread of products remain largely unclear. Based on new micro-data from Russia, this column argues that access to credit helps firms to adopt products and production processes that are new to them. However, there is little evidence that bank credit stimulates in-house R&D. Thus, banks can facilitate the diffusion of technologies within developing countries but their role in pushing the technological frontier is limited.

Martin Brown, Ralph De Haas, Vladimir Sokolow, 14 March 2015

Financial dollarisation, the widespread holding of assets and liabilities in a foreign currency, is often viewed as a threat to financial stability in emerging markets. However, there is not enough evidence that monetary policy is responsible for low dollarisation. This column uses cross-regional evidence from Russia to show that monetary stability is indeed a key determinant of dollarisation. Moreover, banking integration strongly influences how households and firms adjust the currency composition of their assets and liabilities to changes in monetary conditions.

Maxim Ananyev, Sergei Guriev, 08 February 2015

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Lorenz Kueng, Evgeny Yakovlev, 10 September 2014

Understanding consumer behaviour is crucial for many economic questions. This column looks at the persistence of consumer habits towards alcohol among Russian males. Beer sales expanded rapidly after the collapse of the Soviet Union both in levels and relative to vodka sales, driven mainly by the beer consumption of cohorts born in the 1980s and 1990s. The authors estimate that this trend will reduce the male mortality rate in Russia by one quarter in the next 20 years.



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