The Estimation of Prewar GNP: Methodology and New Evidence
NBER Working Paper No. 2674 (Also Reprint No. r1200)
The paper develops new methodology for the estimation of prewar GNP, taps previously unused data sources, and develops new estimates for the periods 1869-08 and 1869-28. Primary among the new data sources are direct measures of output in the transportation, communications, and construction sectors, and estimates of the consumer price index. New measures of real GNP, nominal GNP, and the GNP deflator are developed. The new estimates of real GNP are as volatile on average over the business cycle as the traditional Kuznets-Kendrick aeries but dampen the amplitude of some cycles while raising the amplitude of others. The new estimates of the GNP deflator are distinctly less volatile than the traditional series and in fact no more volatile than in the postwar period.
Published: "The Estimation of Prewar Gross National Product: Methodology and New Evidence." From Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 97, No. 1, pp. 38-92,(February 1989).