The growth of the net domestic product of Germany from 1850 to 1913

Resource Type
Dataset : Survey and aggregate data
  • Holtfrerich, Carl-Ludwig
Publication Date
  • ZA:
    • Historical Studies Data
  • Abstract

    Growth fluctuations, like short-term cyclical fluctuations, can be measured by various indicators. In the 19th century, the economic situation was evaluated mainly on the grounds of easily observable data on prices. Current research, in contrast to this, measures the economic cycle principally by the national product, apart from other multivarious indicators. In modern business cycle research, this method is preferred because it comprises the overall economic activity of a country, whereas diffusion-related indices only regard parts of a national economy. This study by Carl-Ludwig Holtfrerich completes Walter G. Hoffmann`s calculations on the origin of gross value added (cf. Hoffmann W. G., 1965: The Growth of the German Economy Since the Middle of the 19th Century. Berlin: Springer). The principal item of Hoffmann`s study is the estimation by origin on the basis of sub-sectoral physical quantities of production and sub-sectoral employment figures. This estimation by origin results in the best data quality because the economic output of numerous sectors was recorded already from the middle of the 19th century on. Nevertheless, figures on the production of the tertiary sector are almost completely missing. In this respect, the calculation of the index of industrial production constitutes the main problem, and Hoffmann, among others, assumes that the relative sub-sectoral labour productivities had remained constant during the years 1850 and 1959. Moreover, Hoffmann utilises the added value structure of nine economical sectors in 1913 as a constant factor for the aggregation of sector indices for the production in the German economy. In contrast to that, Holtfrerich relies on a calculation method using a streamlined added value structure for each year in the entire period between 1850-1913 to determine the growth rates in the different sectors. Thereby, the author aims at aggregating information on the annual growth rate for the German national economy. It is remarkable that the growth rates of the German net domestic product thus calculated are higher than the rates found by Hoffmann. However, such differences have generally decreased in the years before 1913 because the weighting structures of both methods approached each other in the course of time. The named differences reached their maximum in the period of the so-called “take off” phase of the German industrialisation up to 1874; during this period, they accounted for up to 0.4 percentage points on an perennial average. Thereby the annual growth rates determined by Hoffmann have been corrected by up to 13% upwards. Topics: Tables in the ZA-Onlinedatabase HISTAT: A. Selected tables by W.G. Hoffmann: The Growth of the German Economy Since the Middle of the 19th Century. Berlin (loc. cit.): Springer. - Hoffmann: Earned income per economic sector in Germany in relation to the price current (1850-1930) - Hoffmann: Distribution of the net national product, measured by factor costs and price current (1850-1913) - Hoffmann: Added value per economic sector in the prices of 1913 (1850-1913) - Hoffmann: Production per economic sector, index 1913=100 (1850-1913) B. Tables from: Carl-Ludwig Holtfrerich, The German Net Domestic Product Compared to Factor Costs, index 1913=100, and annual growth factors (1850-1913) - Added value in Germany per economic sector in relation to the price current (1850-1913) - Net domestic product in relation to factor costs, index 1913=100, and annual growth factors of the net domestic product in relation to factor costs (1850-1913) - Comparison of the average growth rate (per year) for different periods (1850-1913)
Temporal Coverage
  • 1850 / 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: 66
A - Data and documents are released for academic research and teaching.
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Alternative Identifiers
  • ZA8273 (Type: ZA-No.)
  • Holtfrerich, Carl-Ludwig: The Growth of Net Domestic Product in Germany 1850-1913. In: Fremdling, R.; O´Brian, P. (Hrsg.): Productivity in the Economies of Europe. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta 1963.

Update Metadata: 2021-04-07 | Issue Number: 87 | Registration Date: 2010-07-23