Angus Maddison data - some surprising numbers ?

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
Dili
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Angus Maddison data - some surprising numbers ?

Post by Dili » 02 Dec 2018 09:41

A well known unfortunately already deceased student of prosperity in world in various times including long time series.
He is well respected but have some values of GDP per capita for 1940 that seem very counter intuitive.

https://www.rug.nl/ggdc/historicaldevel ... abase-2018

In excel format - can be downloadable above link
the value cgdppc Real GDP per capita in 2011US$, multiple benchmarks (suitable for cross-country income comparisons)

Austria 4594
Bulgaria 2978
Germany 7566
Spain 4189
France 5131
UK 9264
Greece 3051
Hungary 2378
Italy 3131
Romania 798
Yugoslavia 1114 (data for 1939 not 1940)

My surprises Bulgaria, Greece at almost Italian level. Spain after a Civil War much prosper than Italy. Hungary worse than Bulgaria, Spain, Greece.
Also very low values for Yugoslavia and Romania. Romania indeed seems the poorest country in that list.
I am finding this difficult to reconcile with other information i have including industrialization and natural resources.

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crolick
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Re: Angus Maddison data - some surprising numbers ?

Post by crolick » 02 Jun 2019 15:04

Here are the numbers without per capita:
https://i.redd.it/7wxtv30hf8001.jpg
The source is https://www.reddit.com/r/europe/comment ... y_country/ where you will find also different GDP per capita data that provided by Dili

John T
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Re: Angus Maddison data - some surprising numbers ?

Post by John T » 03 Jun 2019 22:05

Dili wrote:
02 Dec 2018 09:41
A well known unfortunately already deceased student of prosperity in world in various times including long time series.
He is well respected but have some values of GDP per capita for 1940 that seem very counter intuitive.

https://www.rug.nl/ggdc/historicaldevel ... abase-2018

In excel format - can be downloadable above link
the value cgdppc Real GDP per capita in 2011US$, multiple benchmarks (suitable for cross-country income comparisons)

Austria 4594
Bulgaria 2978
Germany 7566
Spain 4189
France 5131
UK 9264
Greece 3051
Hungary 2378
Italy 3131
Romania 798
Yugoslavia 1114 (data for 1939 not 1940)

My surprises Bulgaria, Greece at almost Italian level. Spain after a Civil War much prosper than Italy. Hungary worse than Bulgaria, Spain, Greece.
Also very low values for Yugoslavia and Romania. Romania indeed seems the poorest country in that list.
I am finding this difficult to reconcile with other information i have including industrialization and natural resources.
I had the same problem first time I saw Maddison data.

I am not into macro economics, just a trespasser, but I understands Maddison to exchange money and production
into something more akin to well being. (Macro dudes call one of these benchmarks Multiple of subsistence)

So a Rural country with little industry but good barter based agriculture would have a low real GDP
but if everybody had enough food from their own plots (invisible in pure GDP calculations) ,
the well being of that country was much better off than actual GDP.

And a country with great Industry and and good standard of living would soar,
like Britain in 1938 but still beaten by Denmark with an even higher Maddison GDP per capita.

There is a better explanation in
https://www.rug.nl/ggdc/html_publicatio ... /gd174.pdf

And look at the diagram of China on page 26 in the pdf above, it kind of says it all.

cheers
/John

Dili
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Re: Angus Maddison data - some surprising numbers ?

Post by Dili » 04 Jun 2019 19:23

Thanks John, will look into it.

Stiltzkin
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Re: Angus Maddison data - some surprising numbers ?

Post by Stiltzkin » 04 Jun 2019 23:45

A well known unfortunately already deceased student of prosperity in world in various times including long time series.
He is well respected but have some values of GDP per capita for 1940 that seem very counter intuitive.
Maddisons estimates are not particularly useful for WW2, or at least not precise. The time series needs an adjustment if it is to be compared with benchmark estimates. They can give you an overview of the GDPs of nations and the development of their economies throughout the centuries, but not of the "portfolio" of a nation.

For the 40s, coal and steel outputs are a good measure for economic power, while prosperity may be measured by net national wealth and real wages or human development indices.

There have been better calculations in the economy section of this forum (and they are also not without reservation). Relying on currency exchange rates in a system that does not underly the necessary laws for interaction makes little sense, but the Kuznets index seems overall to be more useful.
In 1939 Spain had about 34% of British per capita GDP.

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Re: Angus Maddison data - some surprising numbers ?

Post by gracie4241 » 05 Jun 2019 18:20

If coal and steel were accurate barometers of economic strength the Russians would have had NO chance against Germany.During the war I believe their highest annual output of steel was 12,000,000 tons;germany 43-44 @30,000,000+ tons.It is hard to reconcile the low steel output with the claimed armament production of the USSR.Especially is this true when Tooze constantly uses lack of steel for german armament underperformance .Something does not compute(although ive felt for years soviet arms production was less than claimed.Still…...

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Re: Angus Maddison data - some surprising numbers ?

Post by Stiltzkin » 05 Jun 2019 22:58

If coal and steel were accurate barometers of economic strength the Russians would have had NO chance against Germany.During the war I believe their highest annual output of steel was 12,000,000 tons;germany 43-44 @30,000,000+ tons.It is hard to reconcile the low steel output with the claimed armament production of the USSR.Especially is this true when Tooze constantly uses lack of steel for german armament underperformance .Something does not compute(although ive felt for years soviet arms production was less than claimed.Still…...
No because,
1.) the US was the economic backbone of the Allies and
2.) Circumstantial factors are also very dominant, while
3.) Economy played a subordinated role for the outcome of WW2. It was decided by demography (or better: the territory to manpower replacement ratio). German economic superiority translated into greater killing power however, so that the Soviets were losing overall 4 men for each Axis soldier, or 6 in combat.
4.) The armament production of the USSR was lower than German overall production, which is not measured in the number of tanks, but volume, investment, outlays and allocations. The Soviets had a larger Army and greater losses, so they had to compensate accordingly, but could not equip and train their soldiers indepth, at least not to the same degree as the UK, Germany and the USA.

gracie4241
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Re: Angus Maddison data - some surprising numbers ?

Post by gracie4241 » 09 Jun 2019 15:34

Actually, the whole point of the O'Brian book" How the War was won" is EXACTLY to the contrary, all 500 pages with a plethora of exhibits and charts.He flatly argues that the erroneous "assumption that manpower in land armies is the determining measure of national effort" 'is/was archaic(perhaps ending with WW!)….'economic ,technological and overall domestic allocation of resources is a better measurement..and the air/sea war between germany and the British and americans was the defining campaign of the war-by a CONSIDERABLE MEASURE"(p485).If demographics were the determinant the Tsar's armies even in WW1 would have rolled over the germans.WW2 was not a matter of more millions with fixed bayonets overrunning fewer millions with fixed bayonets(btw Russian losses of more than 3-1 + were not even demographically sustainable given the population ratio between germany and the Soviet Union.By 1944 even in manpower terms only 2.5 million out of 9 million men were in the east .Firepower, mobility technology,and air power in particular were FAR more influential to the course of the war(ie the economy).Clearly your' first point about the US is correct

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Re: Angus Maddison data - some surprising numbers ?

Post by Stiltzkin » 09 Jun 2019 15:49

Actually, the whole point of the O'Brian book" How the War was won" is EXACTLY to the contrary, all 500 pages with a plethora of exhibits and charts.He flatly argues that the erroneous "assumption that manpower in land armies is the determining measure of national effort" 'is/was archaic(perhaps ending with WW!)….'economic ,technological and overall domestic allocation of resources is a better measurement..and the air/sea war between germany and the British and americans was the defining campaign of the war-by a CONSIDERABLE MEASURE"(p485).If demographics were the determinant the Tsar's armies even in WW1 would have rolled over the germans.WW2 was not a matter of more millions with fixed bayonets overrunning fewer millions with fixed bayonets(btw Russian losses of more than 3-1 + were not even demographically sustainable given the population ratio between germany and the Soviet Union.By 1944 even in manpower terms only 2.5 million out of 9 million men were in the east .Firepower, mobility technology,and air power in particular were FAR more influential to the course of the war(ie the economy).Clearly your' first point about the US is correct
During WW1, one nation after the other collapsed from the strain of war, from the weakest to the strongest, aside from political turmoil, marking the end of the feudal systems.
I cannot see how any other factors would be more relevant on the macro level here. The air war in the west was a material intensive war, the USSR did not compete on this level, it fought a ground campaign, with horse-drawn rifle divisions, transporting their soldiers via rail. The war was not decided in the Air or the West. Neither did the Allies and Soviets show any significant qualitative superiority over the Axis. Germany was economically superior to the UK and USSR, while approximating US levels. The War in the East was won in a world war I fashion. They were evolved Great War armies.

gracie4241
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Re: Angus Maddison data - some surprising numbers ?

Post by gracie4241 » 11 Jun 2019 20:48

My college thesis(1967) was on Lend Lease and its politico/strategic/economic impact on Russia related to US goals.Even then it was abundantly clear that only with gigantic logistical(trucks, locomotives, rails), command and control(telephone.radios etc) assistance and air superiority was there any chance the Russians could achieve the mobility, coordination, and concentrations of force necessary to sustain any kind of strategic level offensive operations. The Russians had as great or greater a manpower superiority("demographics") in june 1942 as they they did in june 1943(the germans INCREASED from 2.7 million to 3.1 million from 42-43-notwithstandind Stalingrad- but their offensives until November(against the Romanians) basically resulted in slaughter and no gains. The difference in 43 was they had increased firepower, mobility.command and control.and air support.(ie technological/industrial levers) not just bodies.You don't seem to accept that in percentage terms german manpower percentage wise dramatically shifted westward.The numbers speak for themselves.The germans had 1.5 million men in homeland air defense(flak{50,000 guns), radar stations, searchlight batteries etc) and 750,000 in the Navy, neither having much of anything to do with the eastern campaign.By my rough count that's potentially 150 divisions.Your picture of the air war seems to be of a few fighters dancing around the sky;it was a GIGANTIC denterprisre( 1,000,000 tons of bombs-16 Hiroshimas "ain't nothing").Speer claimed he had 600,000 men used solely for bomb damage repair and cleanup.I'm sorry you've been misled into thinking millions of charging Russian riflemen won the war;I'm sorry, they didn't even come close to

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