Pierre-Louis Vézina and Gerhard Toews

Published on January 21, 2021 Updated on February 12, 2021
Le 27 January 2021 De 17:30 à 18:30

Webinar: The Economics of Migration

Enemies of the people


Enemies of the people were the millions of artists, engineers, professors, and affluent peasants that were thought a threat to the Soviet regime for being the educated elite, and were forcedly resettled to the Gulag, i.e. the system of forced labor camps across the Soviet Union. In this paper we look at the long-run consequences of this dark re-location episode. We show that areas around camps with a larger share of enemies among camp prisoners are more prosperous today, as captured by firms' wages and profits, as well as night lights per capita. We also show that the descendants of enemies are more likely to be tertiary educated today. Our results point in the direction of a long-run persistence of education and a resulting positive effect on local economic outcomes. A 28 percentage point increase in the share of enemies increases night lights per capita by 58%, profits per employee by 65%, and average wages by 22%.

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