The births, lives, and deaths of corporations in late Imperial Russia

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Title: The births, lives, and deaths of corporations in late Imperial Russia
Author: Gregg, Amanda ; Nafziger, Steven
Organization: Bank of Finland
Department / Unit: Institute for Economies in Transition (BOFIT)
Series: BOFIT Discussion Papers
Series number: 26/2020
Year of publication: 2020
Publication date: 14.12.2020
Pages: 54
Subject (yso): yritykset; taloushistoria; teollistuminen
Keywords: Bofit-kokoelma; Venäjä
JEL: L11; N13; N63; 014; O16
Other keywords: entry and exit; firm dynamics; Imperial Russia; corporations; industrialization
Abstract: 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.
Table of contents: Contents I Abstract ..... 4 I Introduction ..... 5 II From historical context to empirical hypotheses..... 9 II.1 The Imperial Russian concession system: corporate charters and corporation types 11 II.2 The life-cycle dynamics of Imperial Russian corporations in a modern lens..... 12 III Data ..... 18 III.1 Summary statistics on imperial corporations..... 20 IV Corporate entry, evolution, and exit: empirical evidence ..... 25 IV.1 Entry...... 26 IV.2 Corporate life-cycles...... 28 IV.3 Exit...... 31 IV.4 Corporate founders, entry, and exit...... 32 V Conclusions and future work ...... 35 References ..... 37 Appendix – tables and figures..... 42 Additional details on the dataset: Original sources and variables..... 50

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