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Groningen Growth and Development Centre

Faculty of Economics and Business
Historical Development

Historical Development

Welcome to the Historical Development research area

This section gives access to our databases on historical development. These data sets provide long time series on indicators of economic growth, for a wide set of countries. Some of these series go as far back as the AD 1, allowing us to analyse relative economic performance from a truly historical perspective. For this purpose, internationally harmonised economic indicators have been constructed using clear and documented sources and methods.

Maddison Historical Statistics
Maddison Historical Statistics

The main database in this field is the Maddison Historical Statistics. The Maddison Project, initiated in March 2010 by a group of close colleagues of Angus Maddison, aims to develop an effective way of cooperation between scholars to continue Maddison's work on measuring economic performance in the world economy. The Maddison Project has launched an updated version of the original Maddison dataset in January 2013. The update incorporates much of the latest research in the field, and presents new estimates of economic growth in the world economic between AD 1 and 2010.

Historical National Accounts
Historical National Accounts

The data hub on Comparative Historical National Accounts provides information on GDP, including an industry breakdown for the 19th and 20th centuries. It complements Angus Maddison’s estimates of World GDP. This database gives the user GDP estimates at current as well as constant prices, and presents more detailed estimates at an industry level. These data will enable researchers to analyse the process of economic growth and structural change in more detail.

Modern Times

The Modern Times project analyses the shift in economic leadership from Europe to the United States, in the first half of the twentieth century. To this end detailed benchmark studies have been made of technological competence and economic performance in European countries for three benchmark years (1910, 1935 and 1950) on the level of industrial branches.

Pessimism and prosperity

How much better is life today than in the past? And do we always need growth to produce welfare? This project develops a new research avenue that uses broad indicators of human welfare and the standard of living to measure levels and growth of economic well-being during the biggest crisis that hit European society in modern times: the wars and depression of the first half of the twentieth century.

Gauging Past Performance

Finance teaching and research in the Netherlands relies entirely on US data, easily available but not very relevant for the country. To remedy this we build NEDHISFIRM, a comprehensive information system holding Dutch corporate and stock exchange data for the period 1796-1980. Historians and economists collaborate closely to provide new and vital data for understanding the long-term evolution of Dutch financial markets, firms and public finance in their societal context. Modelled closely on proven systems in Belgium and France, NEDHISFIRM supplies innovative standards of documentation bringing together metadata formats and an architecture facilitating the next generation of data-extraction and enrichment systems from historical sources.

Last modified:16 November 2020 3.52 p.m.