Contract enforcement in Russian serf society, 1750–1860

Tracy Dennison
Published Online:
11 Jul 2012
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 66 Issue 3

Additional Options

This article examines questions about contract enforcement in the absence of formal legal institutions, using archival evidence for one particular rural society in pre‐emancipation Russia. The evidence presented indicates that enforcement services provided by the local landlord made it possible for Russians from different socioeconomic and legal strata to engage in a wide variety of contractual transactions. However, this system had significant drawbacks in that the poorest serfs could not afford these services and no serf had recourse beyond his local estate.

© Economic History Society 2012

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