The Long-Term Development Path of Secondary Industry in Central Asia

Ichiro Iwasaki

June 2012 (Revised: February 2013)


In this paper, I compile 100-year statistics for the countries of Central Asia based on declassified confidential documents from the Soviet Statistical Office that were obtained from the Russian State Archives, as well as other related materials. I then quantitatively characterize the long-term development path of secondary industry in the region. The issue of the possible upward bias of Soviet industrial statistics is also examined. A comparative analysis between the USSR and the Central Asian region and among Central Asian countries using the above long-term statistics provides valuable findings, including information about the close relationship between the socialist industrial allocation policy and the rate of growth in the secondary industry sector. We can thus reach a deeper understanding of the history of economic development in Central Asia during the socialist era and in the transition period towards a market economy which followed. Furthermore, the upward-bias adjusted industrial production index indicates a significant over-estimation of the industrial production reported in the official Soviet statistics. By including historical facts relevant to Soviet development policy in Central Asia, this quantitative evidence has the potential of bringing about a clearer picture of the historical economic changes in the region. In this sense, this paper takes the first step towards promoting cliometric work on the Central Asian economies in Japan.

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