The Stolypin Reform and Agricultural Productivity in Late Imperial Russia

Paul Castaneda Dower (Florida International University)
Andrei Markevich (New Economic School)

Abstract: We study the effect of improvements in peasants’ land tenure, launched by the Stolypin reform (1906), on agricultural productivity in the late imperial Russia. The reform allowed peasants to obtain land titles and consolidate separated land strips into single allotments. We find that consolidations increased land productivity. We argue that changes in peasant de facto land usage rights caused this effect. In contrast, the titling component of the reform was associated with a decrease in land productivity. We present evidence that this negative effect was driven by transaction costs to exit the commune and the outflow of labor from the countryside.