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Research Seminar in Economics University of Helsinki

December 07, 2023: Andrei Markevich (University of Helsinki)

Social Mobility in Times of Revolutions and Regime Changes. Persistence of Elites in 20th Century Russia


How much do radical changes of social order affect the persistence of elites? To address this question, we analyze the impact of the 1917 Russian revolution, measuring the spread of Tsarist elite surnames among Soviet and modern Russian elites. We document a quicker decline of elite representation at the start of the Soviet era, but mostly for military outcomes during Stalin’s reign. Over the longer haul (1914-2022) we find that, despite a series of post-revolutionary shocks during the 20th century, elite persistence was surprisingly large and very similar for elites from different backgrounds. However, the persistence rate of 0.5 is smaller than the multi-generational estimates Gregory Clark finds for other countries (0.7-0.8).

Time and Location: 12.15–1.30 p.m. On-site: 202 Sitzungsraum / Kaminzimmer Boltzmannstr. 16-20 14195 Berlin-Dahlem