Research Discussion Paper – RDP 7701 A Preliminary Annual Database 1900/01 to 1973/74


This paper presents preliminary annual estimates of a considerable number of economic variables from 1900/01 to 1973/74. As far as possible the estimates are on a consistent basis, usually employing the same definitions as official data for recent years. Consistency of definition is important, since a major use of the database presented in this paper is in the estimation of the parameters of macroeconomic models similar in spirit to that described in Research Discussion Paper 7601.

A great amount of work has gone into preparing the estimates in this paper, and, as noted above, the author has received comment and assistance from many economists and economic historians. Considerable effort has gone into checking the work, but it is inevitable that errors persist from the computations made, or the data used to construct the estimates presented. Indeed, the author points out that not all the series are equally reliable, and it is intended to revise and update the database as new information becomes available. Any further suggestions for ways to improve the data will be most welcome.

The paper attempts to provide fairly complete information about the assumptions used in calculating each series, including the reasons for choosing among alternatives where choice is necessary. It should be noted that for some purposes it may be desirable to alter the definitions underlying various series; thus, for example, somewhat different pictures concerning the growth of gross domestic product at constant prices, especially in the inter-war years, are given depending on whether livestock accretion is included in the estimates (as in N.G. Butlin's unadjusted estimates) or excluded (as in the present estimates and official estimates). This is one important example of how it may be necessary to manipulate the basic data for different uses.