Browsing by Author "Nafziger, Steven"

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  • Gregg, Amanda; Nafziger, Steven (2020)
    BOFIT Discussion Papers 7/2020
    This paper explores the dynamics of corporate finance during the early stages of industrial growth by examining a newly constructed panel database of Imperial Russian industrial corporations’ balance sheets. We document large differences in financial strategies and outcomes across industries, over time, over firms’ life cycles, and between two Russian corporation types. Russian corporations’ profits and dividend payouts followed the Russian business cycle. Russian corporate debt ratios mostly follow modern capital structure theories, but tangible assets were not associated with higher debt levels, suggesting that Russian corporate debt was short-term, that collateral was irrelevant, or that agency problems dominated. We also find evidence that investors needed to be compensated for poor protections, since dividends were valued and widely-held corporations enjoyed greater returns. While the evidence suggests the presence of these and other frictions, our findings are consistent with the Imperial Russian financial system functioning well enough to enable early industrial development.
  • Gregg, Amanda; Nafziger, Steven (2020)
    BOFIT Discussion Papers 26/2020
    Enterprise creation, destruction, and evolution support the transition to modern economic growth, yet these processes are poorly understood in industrializing contexts. We investigate Imperial Russia’s industrial development at the firm-level by examining entry, exit, and persistence of corporations. Relying on newly developed balance sheet panel data from every active Russian corporation (N > 2500) between 1899 and 1914, we examine the characteristics of entering and exiting corporations, how new entrants evolved, and the impact of founder identity on subsequent outcomes. Russian corporations operated flexibly and competitively, conditional on overcoming distortionary institutional barriers to entry that slowed the emergence of these leading firms in the Imperial economy.
  • Buggle, Johannes C.; Nafziger, Steven (2018)
    BOFIT Discussion Papers 22/2018
    This paper examines the long-run economic consequences of Russian serfdom. Employing data on the intensity of labor coercion at the district level in just prior to emancipation in 1861, we document that a greater legacy of serfdom is associated with lower economic well-being today. Our estimates imply that increasing historical serfdom by 25 percentage points reduces household expenditure today by up to 17%. The analysis of different types of labor coercion reveals substantial heterogeneity in the long-run effects of serfdom. Furthermore, we document persistence of economic development measured by city populations over the period 1800 - 2002 in cross-sectional regressions and panel estimations. Exploring mechanisms, our results suggest that the effect of serfdom on urbanization in Imperial Russia was perpetuated in the Soviet period, with negative implications for structural change, the spatial distribution and productivity of firms, and human capital investment.