The Births, Lives, and Deaths of Corporations in Late Imperial Russia
Department of Economics
Friday, November 3, 2017
Taylor-Hibbard Seminar Room (Rm103)
12:00 pm-1:15 pm
Understanding the birth, growth, and death of firms in the early stages of industrial development is a relatively unexplored area of economic history, yet these processes are at the heart of transitions to modern economic growth. Our paper investigates the competitiveness and financial development of the Imperial Russian economy by examining patterns of entry and exit into the corporate sector. This analysis relies on a newly developed panel database of detailed annual balance sheet information from every active corporation in the Russian Empire between 1899 and 1914. In our data, firms entered the corporate sector as new firms or partnerships newly transformed into corporations and exited when they shut down. We examine the industrial distribution of firm entry, document how new and newly transformed corporations evolved over their life cycles, and construct a proportional hazard model that includes balance sheet and governance characteristics to predict firm exits.