• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

News

Seminar «Technology Adoption in Agrarian Societies: the Effect of Volga Germans in Imperial Russia»

A joint research seminar of the Laboratory for Labour Market Studies and the Centre for Labour Market Studies was held at HSE on October 8, 2019.

Speakers: Natalia Vasilenok и Timur Natkhov (HSE Center for Institutional Studies).

Theme: Technology Adoption in Agrarian Societies: the Effect of Volga Germans in Imperial Russia.

This paper examines technology adoption in pre-industrial societies. We use the case of technologically advanced and spatially concentrated German minority in Saratov province of the Russian Empire to study adoption patterns among Russian peasants in late 19th–early 20th century. We find that distance to 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). Moreover, we show a significant rise in labor productivity in agriculture resulting from the adoption of heavy plough. However, we find no evidence for the adoption of non-codified “know-how” like blacksmith, carpentry, textile, tannery and other artisanal skills. Hence, the adoption of advanced tools does not necessary induces the diffusion of skills, required to produce those tools. This may well be the key to the problem of slow technological convergence.

Working paper

Discussant: Eren Arbatli (HSE Department of Theoretical Economics).