Nominal GNP's for the world at the eve of WW2

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
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Guaporense
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Nominal GNP's for the world at the eve of WW2

Postby Guaporense » 28 Jul 2012 00:02

Reconstructing World National Products in 1938

The Nominal National Products of the major powers in 1938, in current dollars:

(1) United States: 84.7 billion
(2) Germany: 46.0 billion*
(3) UK: 27.51 billion
(4) USSR: 23.02 billion
(5) France: 16.18 billion
(6) Italy: 8.68 billion
(7) Japan: 7.49 billion

The per capita figures:

(1) United States: 649
(2) Germany: 590
(3) UK: 579
(4) USSR: 138
(5) France: 385
(6) Italy: 200
(7) Japan: 104

*Note that Germany's figures includes Austria and parts of Czechoslovakia, as they were annexed into the country in 1938.

Using these figures we can estimate the GDP's of the rest of Europe, given that we know the populations and that the levels of development Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Sweden and Denmark were similar to Germany and the UK (assume per capita income of 500 dollars). Switzerland was richer in per capita income than the US, even in Maddison's GDP estimates (which means that in Market rates the difference was probably greater, assume 700 dollars). Norway and Finland were slightly poorer on average, comparable to France (400 dollars). Spain and Portugal were perhaps on the level of Eastern Europe, Japan and the Soviet Union in terms of per capita incomes (100 dollars).

We also have the per capita income figures for the rest of Eastern Europe (4):

Bulgaria: 99
Hungary: 158
Poland: 132
Romania: 107
Yugoslavia: 105

And their GDP's:

Bulgaria: 0.65 billion
Hungary: 1.45 billion
Poland: 4.63 billion
Romania: 1.67 billion
Yugoslavia: 1.69 billion
total Eastern Europe: 10.09 billion

Note: none of these figures are estimates. These are the actual GDPs of each country converted into dollars using market exchange rates. They show the size of the economy of each country to the international markets. So it measures international economic size/purchasing power. I have compared prices of industrial goods such as steel, machine tools, aircraft and similar items of equipment and they usually match exchange rates. Since munitions are manufactured goods, I think that nominal GDP is a better measure than PPP GDP, unless you wish to count the local purchasing power of prostitution services, housing space and haircuts into our calculations.

Estimated GDP's of other Western European countries:

Denmark: 1.9 billion (assumed per capita income of British/German level, 500 dollars)
Sweden: 3.15 billion (assumed per capita income of British/German level, 500 dollars)
Switzerland: 2.94 billion (assumed per capita income of 700 dollars)
Netherlands: 4.35 billion (assumed per capita income of British/German level, 200 dollars)
Belgium: 4.2 billion (assumed per capita income of British/German level, 200 dollars)
Norway: 1.16 billion (assumed per capita income of French level, 200 dollars)
Finland: 1.48 billion (assumed per capita income of French level, 200 dollars)
Greece: 1.42 billion (assumed per capita income of Italian level, 200 dollars)
Spain: 2.53 billion (assumed per capita income of Bulgarian level, 100 dollars)
Portugal: 0.76 billion (assumed per capita income of Bulgarian level, 100 dollars)

total estimated GDP: 23.89 billion

Western Europe:
23.89 billion (estimated) + 98.37 billion (known) = 122.26 billion

So, in 1938, the World Distribution of GDP was:

Europe: 155.4 billion
--- Western Europe: 122.26 billion
--- Eastern Europe: 10.09 billion
--- Soviet Union: 23.02 billion

United States: 84.7 billion

Japan: 7.49 billion

total: 240.59 billion

Number of countries: 23, 13 known GDP figures, 10 estimated. Though, 90% of the GDP mass was not estimated so the discrepancy with the actual data cannot be too great.

Derived from:
(1) The Economics of WW2, Harrison, chapter 3, page 83
(2) The Economics of WW2, Harrison, chapter 4, page 158, and http://www.paper-dragon.com/1939/exchange.html
(3) http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/uk_20 ... chart.html and http://www.paper-dragon.com/1939/exchange.html
(4) Image plus the fact that Soviet population was 351.6% of UK's population.
(5) French GDP was ca. 400 billion franks in 1937, exchange rate was 24.72 for the dollar
(6) The Economics of WW2, Harrison, chapter 5, page 179 and http://www.paper-dragon.com/1939/exchange.html
(7) The Economics of WW2, Harrison, chapter 6, page 257 and http://www.paper-dragon.com/1939/exchange.html
Last edited by Guaporense on 28 Jul 2012 18:38, edited 2 times in total.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Nominal GNP's for the world at the eve of WW2

Postby Guaporense » 28 Jul 2012 00:23

World GNP of 1938 and the World GDP of 2011, current dollars

1938:

Europe ---------------- 155.4 billion
-- Western Europe -- 122.26 billion
-- Eastern Europe --- 10.09 billion
-- USSR --------------- 23.02 billion

USA ------------------- 84.7 billion

Japan ----------------- 7.49 billion

total ------------------ 247.59 billion
Europe's share ------ 62.76%

2011 (source: International Monetary Fund):

Europe ------------------- 21.32 trillion
-- European Union ------ 17.68 trillion
-- Western Europe\EU -- 1.12 trillion
-- Eastern Europe\EU --- 0.16 trillion (former Yugoslavia)
-- Former USSR --------- 2.36 trillion

USA ----------------------- 15.09 trillion

Japan --------------------- 5.87 trillion

total ---------------------- 42.28 trillion
Europe's share ----------- 50.43%
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Nominal GNP's for the world at the eve of WW2

Postby Guaporense » 28 Jul 2012 01:03

I have also found per capita incomes for other regions of East Asia in 1935:

http://i451.photobucket.com/albums/qq23 ... capita.png

Notice that Japan's income increased from 77 dollars in 1935 to 104 dollars in 1938. Due to currency appreciation and inflation. However, the figures of the other Asian countries didn't change as much, considering US figures changed little as well, from 575 to 649, and that was the recovery from the Great Depression. These countries, however, were mostly medieval style subsistence economies.

Using these figures and multiplying by the 1938 population we get:

China ------ 10.32 billion (bigger than Italy and Japan, though since the level of income was so low they couldn't spend it on anything else but rice)
Korea ------ 0.65 billion
Taiwan ---- 0.27 billion

Adding to my World GNP table:

1938:

Europe ---------------- 155.4 billion
-- Western Europe -- 122.26 billion
-- Eastern Europe --- 10.09 billion
-- USSR --------------- 23.02 billion

USA ------------------- 84.7 billion

East Asia
-- China -------------- 10.32 billion
-- Japan -------------- 7.49 billion
-- Korea -------------- 0.65 billion
-- Taiwan ------------ 0.27 billion

total ----------------- 258.83 billion
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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World MER GNP: 1938, 1980, 2011

Postby Guaporense » 28 Jul 2012 01:34

1938:

Europe ---------------- 155.4 billion
-- Western Europe -- 122.26 billion
-- Eastern Europe --- 10.09 billion
-- USSR --------------- 23.02 billion

USA ------------------- 84.7 billion

East Asia
-- China -------------- 10.32 billion
-- Japan -------------- 7.49 billion
-- Korea -------------- 0.65 billion
-- Taiwan ------------ 0.27 billion

total ----------------- 258.83 billion

1980: (source: United Nations)

Europe ------------------ 4,966 billion
-- Western Europe ---- 3,778 billion
-- Eastern Europe ----- 247.8 billion
-- USSR ----------------- 940 billion

USA --------------------- 2,767 billion

East Asia
-- Japan -------------- 1,071 billion
-- China -------------- 189.4 billion
-- Korea -------------- 63.8 billion

total ----------------- 9,057 billion (note: world GDP was 11.8 trillion in 1980, including the other 140 countries)


2011 (source: International Monetary Fund):

Europe ------------------- 21.32 trillion
-- European Union ------ 17.68 trillion
-- Western Europe\EU -- 1.12 trillion
-- Eastern Europe\EU --- 0.16 trillion (former Yugoslavia)
-- Former USSR --------- 2.36 trillion

USA ----------------------- 15.09 trillion

East Asia
-- China ------------------- 7.30 trillion
-- Japan ------------------- 5.87 trillion
-- Korea ------------------- 1.15 trillion
-- Taiwan ----------------- 0.47 trillion

total ---------------------- 51.2 trillion (world GDP was 69 trillion in 2011, including the other 140 countries)


Notice how Europe gradually loses importance: from 60% in 1938, to 54.8% in 1980 (42 years later) and finally to 41.6% in 2011 (31 years later).
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Nominal GNP's for the world at the eve of WW2

Postby South » 30 Jul 2012 10:38

Good morning Guaporense,

Admittedly, I failed to notice how Europe gradually loses importance...and finally........

Europeans had no holding outside of Europe?

The decade you're addressing had some problems - especially in Europe. Starting with May, 1931, with the failure of the Austrian Credit-Anstalt Bank, some major problems were getting defined. Economists would use the words "dire" or "dangerous".

I personally assign some significance when Schacht again became Reichbank president in March, 1933, and decreed foreign exchange controls plus foreign trade barter arrangements. Any German who settled a foreign debt directly with a creditor was subject to the death penalty. Again, I see some significance to this when looking at your posted numbers - but not your conclusions.

In "2011 (31 years later)" did not ICE London get involved in pricing petroleum and thus determining or, in the alternative, distorting some of the numbers you provided?

The International Monetary Fund is a reliable source?

The presented stats do not provide cost examples of spam from Ipanema. The girl from Ipanema is conversant in both spam, beer and the post's absence of foreign exchange rates.

Both the girl from the song and I assign no significance to IMF statistics.

Warm regards,

Bob

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Re: Nominal GNP's for the world at the eve of WW2

Postby Guaporense » 04 Aug 2012 02:59

Here are the actual GDP figures for all great powers:

Image

Methodology:

Before 1939 the GDP numbers refer to current GDP's valued at market exchange rates, in terms of dollars. After 1939 the GDP numbers are deflated to 1939 prices and converted using the 1939 exchange rates (with the exception of Italy, whose GDP figures are deflated to 1938 prices and converted to dollars using 1938 exchange rates).

France's GDP has a strange behavior from 1936 onwards. That's because of the massive expansion on the French money supply caused a strong currency devaluation which lead to a very small GDP in terms of dollars converted at exchange rates. So their nominal GDP was below their long equilibrium levels, I would expect French GDP to have been about 20 billion dollars in 1939 instead of only 11 billion.

The Soviet GDP is not their actual GDP converted using exchange rates, instead it is estimated using the MPI (Method of Physical Indicators), where the per capita levels of consumption of physical goods, such as paper, iron, steel, coal, oil, energy, etc, are regressed against per capita incomes. Thus it was estimated that in 1938 Soviet per capita income was 23.7\% of the British. So I converted the Soviet per capita incomes to dollars in proportion to British dollar per capita incomes and multiplied by it's population in 1938. Later numbers are Harrison index estimates converted to 1938 dollars. Yes, the Soviet economy was smaller than UK's and not much larger than France's (considering French real GDP around 20 billion compared to 23 billion for the USSR). Soviet steel production was much larger (17.8 million tons in 1938, compared to 12.5 million tons for UK and 8 million tons for France) because the Soviet Union focused their economy on maximizing production of low tech industrial commodities, such as steel. One should never be tempted to overestimate Soviet economic capabilities in WW2: they were rather limited. Instead, the USSR compensated for their lack of material resources by throwing their vast manpower resources into the equation.

The GDP of the occupied territories was estimated as follows: we know Germany's tax revenues from occupation and France's occupation costs in proportion to GDP (they were 36.8\% in 1941, 36.9\% in 1942 and 55.5\% in 1943), France represented half of Germany's tax revenues from occupation so I assumed that the rest of the occupied territories paid the same proportion. The margin of error cannot be very large: even if Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark paid half of France's occupation taxes in proportion to their GDP's it would increase the GDP of the occupied territories by 25\%.

The USA GDP from 1939 onwards was estimated by Simon Kuznets, the guy who invented the concept of GDP and won the Nobel Prize in 1971 for his work on producing the methodological basis of GDP estimation. Note that Kuznets' USA GDP index series constitute a much more sober GDP series than those ludicrous figures which show US GDP doubling during WW2.

Finally: Is the German GDP figures realistic? It was really twice the size of the British GDP in 1939? Well, in 1975-1980 period, after Germany's full recovery from WW2, Germany's GDP was twice the British as well as in 1939 (for 1975, 475 billion and 236 billion dollars, respectively, 1980, 919 and 540 billion dollars, respectively). And in 1939 the German civilian labor force was 39 million, compared to 19 million for Britain. And in 1938 German manufacturing productivity per laborer was slightly higher than in Britain, as productivity in the railroads sector, German labor productivity was lower than in Britain in agriculture, but those sector represented only 10\% and 5\% of the GDP's of Germany and Britain, respectively. Note that Germany's GDP also increased thanks to annexation of Austria, parts of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Luxembourg and parts of France.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Nominal GNP's for the world at the eve of WW2

Postby Guaporense » 04 Aug 2012 03:05

Comparison:

1938 figures:
Germany+France+Italy+Belgium+Netherlands+Denmark+Austria = 80 billion dollars

1942 figures:
Greater Germany + occupied territories + Italy = 80.87 billion dollars

Germany's economy grew from 1938 to 1942, but occupied France, Belgium, Netherlands and Denmark suffered near economic collapse.

1934 figures:
France + Germany + UK = 64.96 billion dollars
USA = 66.00 billion dollars

1978 figures:
France + Germany + UK = 1,542 billion dollars
USA = 2,276 billion dollars

This shows the relative decline of the old powers relative to the new world.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Nominal GNP's for the world at the eve of WW2

Postby Guaporense » 05 Aug 2012 14:58

France, GDP using the 1934 exchange rate (GDP adjusted for inflation and converted using the 1934 exchange rate, the figure is in 1934 dollars, is converted using the US inflation rate to the respective years), in billions of dollars:

1934 - 16.23
1935 - 17.75
1936 - 18.37
1937 - 19.79
1938 - 19.06
1939 - 20.35

I guess these numbers are better than simply converting the current GDP to the current exchange rate.

So we have:

Economic size of Germany's controlled/satellite territories, in 1939 dollars, after the Battle of France:

----------------- 1939
Germany ----- 51.60
France -------- 20.35
Italy ------------ 9.31
Poland --------- 4.63
Netherlands --- 4.35
Belgium -------- 4.20
Denmark ------- 1.90
Norway --------- 1.16
total: 97.5 billion dollars

-------------------------------- 1942 --------------- 1943
Germany -------------------- 54.40 --------------- 60.00
Occupied territories ------- 17.53 --------------- 16.89
Italy ------------------------- 8.94 ----------------- 7.94
total:------------------------ 80.87 ----------------- 84.83

Germany's economy grew, but at the cost of the occupied territories.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Nominal GNP's for the world at the eve of WW2

Postby HenryW » 07 Aug 2012 02:35

Very interesting. Any figures for China and Japanese occupied countries?


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Re: Nominal GNP's for the world at the eve of WW2

Postby HenryW » 07 Aug 2012 02:38

Whoops. I see them at the top.

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Re: Nominal GNP's for the world at the eve of WW2

Postby HenryW » 07 Aug 2012 03:34

http://www.ggdc.net/maddison/content.shtml

scroll down to Historical statistics for files on historical GDPs

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Re: Nominal GNP's for the world at the eve of WW2

Postby pugsville » 07 Aug 2012 04:27

Yes but exchange rates in the 1930s were pretty unreliable. No one really accepted other peoples currency, a lot of European trade moved into a Barter economy. I would be reticent to use 1930s monetary exchange rates without some n decent analysis. GDP is a gross approximation it's not an exact measure of anything.

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Re: Nominal GNP's for the world at the eve of WW2

Postby Guaporense » 13 Aug 2012 00:29

Military expenditures of the major powers, in billions of 1939 dollars:

Image

Methodology:

Military expenditures are converted using market exchange rates from 1933 to 1939, figures from 1940 to 1944 are converted to 1939 dollars using GNP/GDP deflators and converted to 1939 dollars using market exchange rates (or the MPI for the case of the Soviet Union).
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Nominal GNP's for the world at the eve of WW2

Postby Guaporense » 13 Aug 2012 00:33

double post
Last edited by Guaporense on 13 Aug 2012 00:42, edited 1 time in total.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Nominal GNP's for the world at the eve of WW2

Postby Guaporense » 13 Aug 2012 00:33

double post
Last edited by Guaporense on 13 Aug 2012 00:34, edited 1 time in total.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz


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