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Employment and Wages in German Industries between 1888 and 1954

Resource Type
  • Grumbach, Franz
  • König, Heinz
Publication Date
  • ZA:
    • Historical Studies Data
  • Abstract

    The present study aims to estimate the development of employment and wages in Germany based on accident insurance statistics. Data on the number of insured persons allow an estimation of employment by economic groups. Thereby it is important to take the increasing share of insured persons in the entire labor force in consideration. Data from the accident insurance is suitable for wage statistics because besides the values of the earned wages it also contains numbers on the yearly average of employees corrected for the number of working days. The investigation period is from 1888 to 1954 with the exception of the years of war and hyperinflation. The first three years after the introduction of the accident insurance are not taken into account as there are no reliable documents for this period. The analysis is restricted to the economic sectors which were subject to compulsory insurance since the beginning of the investigation period: industry, crafts and traffic. In the sector of traffic extra sources for data on railways were used. The increasing significance of the industrial sector regarding the overall economic employment volume as well as the income generation can be seen looking at the development of the number of employees and wages in relation to the per capita income growth. The industrialization process leads to structural changes in the entire economy which results in a steady relative decline in the agrarian sector. Within the industrial sector most chances and developments are in favor of the industries producing mainly investment goods. This process causes that the growth rates of industrial employment, of average wages and of the wage level primarily depend on those industry groups. Due to these different growth processes within the industrial sector a theoretical differentiation of the wage structure of both groups is necessary because the investment goods industries which has a higher need of expansion need to pay higher wages in order to get the necessary workforce for their expansion. At the beginning of the first world war the wage difference between the two industry groups has increased to 36,5% in 1913 ( it was only 26,5% in 1888). But in the following years there is not such a strong tendency. Probably the increasing power of trade unions caused a consolidation of the “traditional” wage structure. This is also supported by the fact that wage differences between all industries are quite small in the period after the First World War. The increases in real wages during the investigation period are smaller than 100%. This results in a yearly average increase of ca 1%. This is a development of real wages on a significantly lower level compared to other countries such as Sweden, France, Great Britain and The US. A reason for this is the missing real wage increase during the years of war and the first years after the war. Register of tables in HISTAT: - Working population in thousands with their main profession in Germany (1882-1950) - Employees in Germany (1882-1954) - Index number for costs of living, nominal wages and real wages in Germany (1888-1954) - Development of average wages in the industry groups in the German (1888-1912) - Shares of different industry groups in the total labor force in Germany (1882-1954)
Temporal Coverage
  • 1888 / 1954
Geographic Coverage
  • German Reich (1871-1945) (DXDE)
  • Germany (DE)
Collection Mode
  • Sources: Individual publications: 75 years of the chemistry association. A contribution to the industrial history and the economic, political formation of opinion in a descriptive presentation with chosen quotes from documents (75 Jahre Chemieverband. Ein Beitrag zur Industriegeschichte und wirtschaftspolitischen Meinungsbildung in einer erzählenden Darstellung mit ausgewählten Dokumentenzitaten) Official communications of the Reich´s insurance office, Berlin, number 1 (1891) and number 21 (1905) (Amtliche Nachrichten des Reichs-Versicherungsamts, Berlin, Jg. 1 (1884) und Jg. 21 (1905) Statistical year book for the German Reich, Berlin, number 12 (1891), (Statistisches Jahrbuch für das Deutsche Reich, Berlin, Jg. 12 (1891)) Statistics on operating railways in Germany, Berlin, quarterly reports on the statistics the German Reich, Berlin ( Statistik der im Betriebe befindlichen Eisenbahnen Deutschlands, Berlin) Quarterly reports on the statistics the German Reich, Berlin, number 1 (1892) and number 25 (1916) (Vierteljahreshefte zur Statistik des Deutschen Reiches, Berlin, Jg. 1 (1892) und Jg.25 (1916)) Kuczynski, J., History of the situation of workers in capitalism, volume 1: History of the situation of workers in Germany from 1789 up to the present day (Die Geschichte der Lage der Arbeiter unter dem Kapitalismus. Bd. 1: Die Geschichte der Lage der Arbeiter in Deutschland von 1789 bis in die Gegenwart. 6., verb. Auflage, S. 173, 324.)
Data and File Information
  • Unit Type: Text Unit
    Number of Units: 73
    Number of Variables: 79
A - Data and documents are released for academic research and teaching.
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Alternative Identifiers
  • ZA8213 (Type: ZA-No.)
  • Grumbach, Franz; König, Heinz: Beschäftigung und Löhne der deutschen Industriewirtschaft 1888-1954. In: Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv, Vol. 79, Nr. 1, 1957.

Update Metadata: 2017-12-29 | Issue Number: 73 | Registration Date: 2010-07-23

Grumbach, Franz; König, Heinz (2005): Beschäftigung und Löhne der deutschen Industriewirtschaft 1888-1954. Version: 1.0.0. GESIS Datenarchiv. Dataset.