Clans and Ploughs: Traditional Institutions and Production Decisions of Kazakhs under Russian Colonial Settlement

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This article investigates how, with increasing land pressure during Russian settlement in Kazakh steppes in the late nineteenth century, clan institutions affected the transition from nomadic pastoralism to settled agriculture. Using a novel dataset constructed from Russian colonial expedition materials matched with clan genealogies, we find that, controlling for geographic factors, clan identity strongly influenced the duration of transhumance period, the organization of production, and the acquisition of new agricultural tools. Information transmission within clans, external economies of scale in nomadic pastoralism, and clan-specific values and norms underlie the results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-108
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Economic History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2016


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