Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Ratio Working Papers,
The Ratio Institute

No 70: Annual Estimates of Swedish GDP in 1720-1800

Rodney Edvinsson ()
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Rodney Edvinsson: Stockholm University, Postal: Department of Economic History, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: For the period 1800 onwards, annual figures over GDP and GDP per capita for Sweden have been presented in different studies. For the 18th century no such annual series exist. The aim of this paper is to present annual data on GDP and GDP per capita in volume values for Sweden for the whole period 1720-1800. Only very rough estimates are provided, which are not based on any disaggregation of the different components of GDP. To estimate annual fluctuations, four different indicators are used: changes in the official accounts of harvests, marriage rates, the price of rye and import of un-milled grains. When investigating the long-term trends, the conclusion is that there was only a very modest increase in GDP per capita over the studied period. The growth of the GDP per capita became substantial not until the mid 19th century. However, GDP grew significantly during the studied period, but this growth mainly took the form of population growth. This in itself constituted a kind of technological progress, allowing a larger population per unit of land without a significant decrease in per capita production.

Keywords: GDP; 18th century; Sweden; economic growth; national accounts; economic history

JEL-codes: E23; E32; J10; N13; N53; O10; O13; O47; O52; Q13

31 pages, June 14, 2005

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