Abstract

Most of the studies of living standards in pre-revolutionary Russia by economic historians have focused on a narrow range of measures for predominantly urban areas. A micro-level analysis that employs a broader set of measures of well-being for a small rural region in central Russia suggests that, contrary to previous findings, living standards were improving throughout the nineteenth century, even in seemingly less dynamic rural areas. Moreover, the variation in income and consumption patterns, human-capital development, and the distribution of resources in the countryside was greater than typically assumed. Since state and local institutions might be able to account for it, these determinants should be emphasized in future analyses of rural living standards in pre-Soviet Russia.

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