Steven Nafziger

Associate Professor of Economics
Schapiro Hall Rm 335


B.A. Northwestern University (2000)
M.A. Yale University, Economics (2002)
M.Phil. Yale University, Economics (2003)
Ph.D. Yale University, Economics (2006)


Note: courses in gray are not offered this academic year.

ECON 120(S)

Principles of Macroeconomics

ECON 219 T

Global Economic History

ECON 220

American Economic History

ECON 377(F)

Inspiration/Perspiration: The Economics of Innovation

ECON 455(F)

Research in Economic History


Steven Nafziger is an Associate Professor of Economics at Williams and a Center Associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard. His research focuses on a wide range of issues in the economic history of Imperial and Soviet Russia. Recent papers and book chapters have examined the economic impact of Russian serf emancipation, the political economy of post-1861 Russian economic development, and the financing of the corporate sector in the late-Imperial period. At Williams, Steven teaches courses in introductory macroeconomics, in the economics of innovation, and in several areas of economic history.


“Decentralization, Fiscal Structure, and Local State Capacity in Late-Imperial Russia,” in Jari Eloranta et al., eds. , Economic History of Warfare and State Formation. London: Springer, forthcoming.

“Russia” (with Andrei Markevich), in Kevin H. O’Rourke and Jeffrey Williamson, eds., Industrial Growth in the Global Periphery Since 1870. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

“Communal Property Rights and Land Redistributions in Late-Tsarist Russia,” Economic History Review 69.3 (2016): 773-800.

“Russian Inequality on the Eve of Revolution” (with Peter Lindert), The Journal of Economic History 74.3 (2014): 767-798.

“Peasants and Politicians: Agricultural Change and Rural Political Institutions in Nizhnii Novgorod Province, 1861-1906” in Ellen Hillbom and Patrick Svensson, eds., Agricultural Transformation in a Global History Perspective. London: Routledge Press, 2013.

“Micro Perspectives on Russian Living Standards, 1750-1917,” (with Tracy Dennison), The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 42.3 (2013): 397-441.

“Big BRICs, Weak Foundations: The Beginnings of Public Primary Education in Brazil, Russia, India, and China, 1880-1930,” (with Latika Chaudhary, Aldo Musacchio, and Se Yan) Explorations in Economic History 49 (2012): 221-240.

“Serfdom, Emancipation, and Off-Farm Labor Mobility in Russia, 1861-1900,” Economic History of Developing Regions 27.1 (2012): 1-37.

“Did Ivan’s Vote Matter? The Case of the Zemstvo in Tsarist Russia,” European Review of Economic History 15 (2011): 393-441.

“Peasant Communes and Factor Markets in Late Nineteenth-Century Russia,” Explorations in Economic History 47.4 (2010): 381-402.

“Communal Institutions, Resource Allocation, and Russian Economic Development: 1861-1905,” The Journal of Economic History (June 2008): 570-575. [Dissertation summary]

Select Work in Progress

“The Long-Run Consequences of Labor Coercion: Evidence from Russian Serfdom” (with Johannes Buggle), Working paper, 2016

“Capital Structure and Corporate Performance in Late Imperial Russia” (with Amanda Gregg), 2016, under review.

“Collective Action and Representation in Autocracies: Evidence from Russia’s Great Reforms” (with Paul Dower, Evgeny Finkel and Scott Gelbach), Working paper, 2016

“Eastern Europe and the Global Economy, 1800 – 1914,” (with Matthias Morys), Working paper, 2016

“Financial Dynamics: Imperial Russian Corporate Balance Sheets, 1900-1914” (with Amanda Gregg), Working paper, 2016

Serfdom, Emancipation, and the Political Economy of Development in Tsarist Russia (tentative title; book project)

Research Interests

Imperial and Soviet Russian History; Economic History; Historical Perspectives on Economic Development

Current Committees

  • Committee on Undergraduate Life, Chair