A Compromise Estimate of the German Net National Product from 1851 until 1913

Resource Type
Dataset : Survey and aggregate data
  • Burhop, Carsten
  • Wolff, Guntram B.
Publication Date
  • ZA:
    • Historical Studies Data
  • Abstract

    Variations of growth, as well as short-term cyclical variations, can be measured by different indicators. The current research relies on two measuring concepts, i.e. multivariate diffusion indeces or the national product. For the period from 1851 to 1913, there are four time series available regarding the development of the German NNP, notably the calculation of formation, distribution and application by Hoffmann (1965), and the calculation of distribution by Hoffmann and Müller (1959). ´In this article, we contribute to the ongoing debate about the data quality by presenting improvements of all four available series. In particular, we improve the output series by calculating a new Index of industrial production and by basing the index on a revised value of industrial output in 1913. In addition, we significantly enhance the capital sock and net investment series, and we present new data about capital income. Furthermore, we present a new series of net foreign capital income. Finally, we add new information about "indirect taxes" to the income and output series, and we thus calculate four series representing an NNP in market prices. Despite our significant improvements, differences between the series remain, and we solve this problem in a second step by computing a compromise estimate of Germany´s NNP for the years 1851 to 1913 as a weighted average of the four corrected original series. The remaining parts of the article analyze long-term growth and business cycles of the German economy employing the new compromise estimate. The revised data show a higher level of economic activity for 1851 as well as for 1913, but with a larger difference for 1851. Thus, the average growth rate of the German economy was lower during the industrialization period. Moreover, the driving force of this growth was a growing total factor productivity, which in turn was driven by structural change from agriculture to industry. The business cycles of the German economy had an average length of about five years during the second half of the nineteenth century; the magnitude of cycles was weaker in the last quarter of the nineteenth and the early twentieth century than before. Of special interest is our business cycle dating for the 1870s: with the new data the well-known pattern of "Gründerzeit"-boom and "Gründerzeit"-depression can not be confirmed.´ (Burhop, C. / Wolff, G. B., 2005: A Compromise Estimate of German Net National Product, 1851-1913 and its Implications for Growth and Business Cycles, in: Journal of Economic History, Vol. 65 (3), S. 614f). Factual classification of tables in HISTAT: B. Data by C. Burhop and G. B. Wolf: B. Compromise estimate and adjusted estimates of the German net national product on the basis of the prices of 1913(1851-1913) B. Time series for the calculation of the compromise estimate of the German net national product on the basis of the prices from 1913 (1851-1913) D. Data by O. Donner: D. Level of share prices, dividends, stock index, dividend index and stock rate of return for Germany according to Donner (1870-1913) H. Data by W. G. Hoffmann (1965) and W. G. Hoffmann/J. H. Müller (1957): H. Capital stock and investments according to Hoffmann (1850-1913) H. Industrial production and trade according to Hoffmann (1846-1913) H. Comparison of the four estimates of the net national product in Germany according to Hoffmann by prices from 1913 (1851-1913) H. German capital invested abroad and factor foreign income according to Hoffmann (1873-1913) H. Public consumption according to Hoffmann on the basis of the prices of 1913 (1850-1913)
Temporal Coverage
  • 1851 / 1913
Geographic Coverage
  • Historical German lands (-1871) (DQDE)
  • German Reich (1871-1945) (DXDE)
Data and File Information
  • Unit Type: Text Unit
    Number of Units: 64
    Number of Variables: 31
A - Data and documents are released for academic research and teaching.
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Alternative Identifiers
  • ZA8203 (Type: ZA-No.)
  • Burhop, Carsten; Wolff, Guntram B.: A Compromise Estimate of German Net National Product, 1851-1913 and its Implications for Growth and Business Cycles. In: Journal of Economic History, Vol. 65 (3), S. 613-657, 2005.

Update Metadata: 2020-10-21 | Issue Number: 242 | Registration Date: 2010-07-23