# A new estimate of Lithuanian GDP for 1937: How does interwar Lithuania compare?

## Abstract

Utilizing archival data from the Lithuanian Central Bureau of Statistics, we piece together the most complete gross domestic product (GDP) figure during the interwar period for Lithuania in accordance with the System of National Accounts (SNA 2008). Lithuania and the other Baltic states have largely been ignored by economic historians due to the short time spans of their independence in the interwar period (1918–1940), their relatively small sizes, and the scarcity of data—we attempt to fill this gap in the historical record. As a practical application of our new GDP estimate for 1937, we convert our estimate into 1990 Geary–Khamis dollars so that we can test the hypothesis that Lithuanian economic growth under communism was below average when compared to its European neighbors using data from the Maddison Project. We find that the economic growth rate in Lithuania was above average from 1937 to 1973, even when compared to other communist economies. Alternatively, from 1973 to 1990, growth collapsed and was below average. Using a difference-in-difference strategy we also find a significant GDP per capita penalty for communist countries in Europe over the studied time periods.

## Keywords

GDP Interwar Lithuania Baltics Maddison Project Economic growth Communism## JEL Classification

N14 O1## Notes

## References

- Allen RC (2003) Farm to factory: a reinterpretation of the Soviet industrial revolution. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
- Andersson FN, Lennard J (2018) Irish GDP between the famine and the first world war: estimates based on a dynamic factor model. Eur Rev Econ His 23(1):50–71. https://doi.org/10.1093/ereh/hey003 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Anušauskas A, Banionis J, Bauža Č, Brandišauskas V et al (2015) Lithuania in 1940–1991: the history of occupied Lithuania. Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania, VilniusGoogle Scholar
- Axenciuc V, Voineagu V (2012) Produsul intern brut al României: 1862–2000: serii statistice seculare şi argumente metodologice. Editura EconomicăGoogle Scholar
- Bank of England (2018) Industrial production index in the United Kingdom. https://www.fredstlouisfedorg/series/IPIUKM. Accessed 4 Mar 2018
- Berend IT (2006) An economic history of twentieth-century Europe. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Berzin AA (2008) The truth about soviet whaling. Mar Fish Rev 702:4–59Google Scholar
- Bolt J et al (2018) Maddison project database, version 2018. Maddison project working paper 10Google Scholar
- Broadberry SN (1994) Technological leadership and productivity leadership in manufacturing since the industrial revolution: implications for the convergence debate. Economic Journal 104:291–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Broadberry SN (2003) Relative per capita income levels in the United Kingdom and the United States since 1870: reconciling time-series projections and direct-benchmark estimates. J Econ His 63(3):852–863. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022050703542012 Google Scholar
- Broadberry SN, Klein A (2011) When and why did eastern European economies begin to fail? Lessons from a Czechoslovak/UK productivity comparison, 1921–1991. Explor Econ Hist 48(1):37–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bubnys A (2017) Damage caused by the Soviet Union in Lithuania—depopulation of 1940–1941 and 1944–1953. Damage caused by the Soviet Union in the Baltic States. Publisher Ltd., E-forma, Riga, pp 22–30Google Scholar
- Central Bureau of Statistics (1929) Statistical yearbook of Lithuania (1927–1928). Central Bureau of Statistics, KaunasGoogle Scholar
- Central Bureau of Statistics (1930) Lithuanian agricultural census. Central Bureau of Statistics, KaunasGoogle Scholar
- Central Bureau of Statistics (1931) Statistical yearbook of Lithuania (1929–1930). Central Bureau of Statistics, KaunasGoogle Scholar
- Central Bureau of Statistics (1932) Statistical yearbook of Lithuania (1931). Central Bureau of Statistics, KaunasGoogle Scholar
- Central Bureau of Statistics (1933) Statistical yearbook of Lithuania (1932). Central Bureau of Statistics, KaunasGoogle Scholar
- Central Bureau of Statistics (1934) Statistical yearbook of Lithuania (1933). Central Bureau of Statistics, KaunasGoogle Scholar
- Central Bureau of Statistics (1935) Statistical yearbook of Lithuania (1934). Central Bureau of Statistics, KaunasGoogle Scholar
- Central Bureau of Statistics (1936) Statistical yearbook of Lithuania (1935). Central Bureau of Statistics, KaunasGoogle Scholar
- Central Bureau of Statistics (1937) Statistical yearbook of Lithuania (1936). Central Bureau of Statistics, KaunasGoogle Scholar
- Central Bureau of Statistics (1938a) Statistical bulletin no 7. Central Bureau of Statistics, KaunasGoogle Scholar
- Central Bureau of Statistics (1938b) Statistical yearbook of Lithuania (1937). Central Bureau of Statistics, KaunasGoogle Scholar
- Central Bureau of Statistics (1939) Statistical yearbook of Lithuania (1938). Central Bureau of Statistics, KaunasGoogle Scholar
- Central Bureau of Statistics (1940) Statistical yearbook of Lithuania (1939). Central Bureau of Statistics, VilniusGoogle Scholar
- Cheremukhin A, Golosov M, Guriev S, Tsyvinski A (2013) Was Stalin necessary for Russia’s economic development? NBER working paper 19425Google Scholar
- Čiegis R (2012) Makroekonomika. Vilniaus universiteto leidykla, VilniusGoogle Scholar
- Clark C (1938) Internationaler vergleich der volkseinkommen weltwirtschaftliches archiv, pp 51–76Google Scholar
- Costanza R, Hart M, Posner S, Talberth J (2009) Beyond GDP: the need for new measures of progress. The parade papers 4Google Scholar
- Crafts NFR, Toniolo G (2008) European economic growth, 1950–2005: an overview. Discussion paper 686. Centre for Economic Policy Research, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Dargis L (1974) Ko buvo vertas nepriklausomos Lietuvos ūkis. Naujoji Viltis 7:67–77Google Scholar
- Dargis L (1975) Bendrinės tautinės Lietuvos pajamos 1937 metais. Naujoji Viltis 8:48–68Google Scholar
- Dargis L (1976) Nepriklausomos Lietuvos 1937 metų tautinės pajamos. Naujoji Viltis 9:25–39Google Scholar
- Dargis L (1978) Nepriklausomos Lietuvos 1937 ir 1938 metų tautinės ir bendrinės tautinės pajamos. Naujoji Viltis 11:78–97Google Scholar
- Deaton A, Heston A (2010) Understanding PPPs and PPP-based national accounts. Am Econ J Macroecon 2:1–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Eckstein A (1955) National income and capital formation in Hungary, 1900–1950. Rev Income Wealth 5:152–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Edquist C, Jacobson S (1988) Flexible automation: the global diffusion of technology in the engineering industry. Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
- Edvinsson R (2013) Swedish GDP 1620–1800: stagnation or growth? Cliometrica 7(1):37–60. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11698-012-0082-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Edvinsson R (2018) Main page. http://www.historicalstatisticsorg. Accessed 1 July 2018
- Eichengreen B (1996) Institutions and economic growth: Europe after world war II. In: Crafts N, Toniolo G (eds) Economic growth in Europe since 1945. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 38–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Eichengreen B (2007) The European economy since 1945: coordinated capitalism and beyond. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
- Eurostat (2017) Consolidated supply, use and input-output tables Eurostat: statistics explained. https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Consolidated_supply,_use_and_input-output_tables. Accessed 20 Mar 2018
- Frankema E, Smits JP, Woltjer P (2010) Comparing productivity in the Netherlands, France, UK and US, ca 1910: a new PPP benchmark and its implications for changing economic leadership. GGDC working papers 113Google Scholar
- Fridbergas Š (1988) Buržuazinės Lietuvos pramonė. Mintis, VilniusGoogle Scholar
- Gregory PR (1976) 1913 Russian national income–some insights into Russian Economic Development. Q J Econ 445–459Google Scholar
- Harrison M (2002) Coercion, compliance, and the collapse of the Soviet command economy. Econ His Rev 55(3):397–433CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hjerppe R (1996) Finland’s historical national accounts 1860–1994: calculation methods and statistical tables. Jyväskylän Yliopisto, JyväskyläGoogle Scholar
- Jakniūnaitė D (2015) A small state in the asymmetrical bilateral relations: Lithuania in Lithuanian–Russian relations since 2004. Balt J Polit Sci 4:70–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Jakštas J (1968) Nepriklausomybės laikai. Lietuvių enciklopedija, vol 15. Lietuvių enciklopedijos leidykla, Boston, pp 338–344Google Scholar
- Johnson DG, Brooks KM (1983) Prospects for Soviet agriculture in the 1980s. Indiana University Press, BloomingtonGoogle Scholar
- Kalnins J, Pinke G (2017) Determining the damage of occupation: hypothetical evaluation of the development path of Latvia, had it not been occupied. Damage caused by the Soviet Union in the Baltic States. Publisher Ltd., E-forma, Riga, pp 59–64Google Scholar
- Kirzner IM (1988) The economic calculation debate: lessons for Austrians. Rev Aust Econ 2(1):1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Krantz O, Schön L (2007) Swedish historical national accounts 1800–2000. Almqvist and Wiksell International, LundGoogle Scholar
- Lange O (1936) On the economic theory of socialism I. Rev Econ Stud 4(1):53–71. https://doi.org/10.2307/2967660 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Lechner M (2011) The estimation of causal effects by difference-in-difference methods. Found Trends Econom 43:165–224. https://doi.org/10.1561/0800000014 Google Scholar
- Levy DM, Peart SJ (2011) Soviet growth and American textbooks: an endogenous past. J Econ Behav Organ 78(1–2):110–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- McDermott G (2002) Embedded politics: industrial networks and institutional change in postcommunism. University of Michigan Press, Ann ArborCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Meškauskas K (1960) Tarybų Lietuvos industrializavimas. Politinės ir mokslinės literatūros leidykla, VilniusGoogle Scholar
- Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania (1938) Susisiekimo ministerijos 1937 metų metraštis. Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania, KaunasGoogle Scholar
- Miškų departamentas (1940) Miškų departamento metraštis 1918–1938. Miškų departamentas, KaunasGoogle Scholar
- Norkus Z (2016) Apie pirmuosius nacionalinių pajamų skaičiavimus tarpukario Lietuvoje ir Albino Rimkos juose padarytas klaidas, pagreitinusias demokratijos žlugimą. Lietuvos istorijos studijos 38:42–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- North DC (1993) The new institutional economics and development. Econ Hist 9309002Google Scholar
- Nove A (1962) Was Stalin Really Necessary? Encounter 18(4):86–92Google Scholar
- OECD (2018) Industrial production. https://www.dataoecdorg/industry/industrial-productionhtm. Accessed 20 Mar 2018
- Ofer G (1987) Soviet economic growth: 1928–1985. J Econ Lit 25(4):1767–1833Google Scholar
- Official Statistics of Sweden (1961) Consumer prices and index computations 1931–1959. The Swedish Social Welfare Board, StockholmGoogle Scholar
- Paltarokas J (1968) Žemės ūkis. Lietuvių enciklopedija, vol 15. Lietuvių enciklopedijos leidykla, Boston, pp 180–192Google Scholar
- Prados de la Escosura L (2017) Spanish economic growth, 1850–2015. Palgrave Mcmillan, BasingstokeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Pryor FL, Pryor ZP, Stadnik M, Staller GJ (1971) Czechoslovak aggregate production in the interwar period. Rev Income Wealth 17(1):35–59. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4991.1971.tb00766.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Rimka A (1926a) Tautos pelnas ir metodai jam surasti. Lietuvos ūkis 43:105–110Google Scholar
- Rimka A (1926b) Tautos pelnas ir metodai jam surasti. Lietuvos ūkis 44:141–146Google Scholar
- Schön L, Krantz O (2015) New Swedish historical national accounts since the 16th century in constant and current prices. Lund Papers in Economic History 140, LundGoogle Scholar
- Staehr K (2013) Austerity in the Baltic states during the global financial crisis. Intereconomics 485:293–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Stankiewicz WJ, Montias JM (1955) Institutional changes in the postwar economy of Poland. Mid-European Studies Center, Free Europe Committee, New York, p 125Google Scholar
- Šulga A, Tininis V (2007) Lietuva politinio atšilimo ir stagnacijos laikotarpiu (1953–1987). In: Visuotinė lietuvių enciklopedija. Mokslo ir enciklopedijų leidybos institutas, Vilnius, vol 12, p 550Google Scholar
- Tamulevičius J (1939) Kiek savarankiškų amatininkų turime kaime? Amatininkas 1531:246–248Google Scholar
- Tautos ūkis (1937) Akcinių bankų pajamos ir išlaidos 1936 m. Tautos ūkis 44:907Google Scholar
- Vaišnys J (1938) Žalienų gerinimo baras jau toli nuvarytas. Ūkininko patarėjas 5:5Google Scholar
- Valančius G (1956) The economic development and foreign trade of Lithuania. Lituanus. http://www.lituanus.org/1956/56_1_04Valancius.html. Accessed 10 Feb 2019
- Valge J (2003a) Uue majanduse lätteil Eesti sisemajanduse kogutoodang aastatel 1923–1938. Akadeemia 10:2202–2228Google Scholar
- Valge J (2003b) Uue majanduse lätteil Eesti sisemajanduse kogutoodang aastatel 1923–1938. Akadeemia 11:2443–2487Google Scholar
- Valge J (2003c) Uue majanduse lätteil Eesti sisemajanduse kogutoodang aastatel 1923–1938. Akadeemia 12:2712–2735Google Scholar
- Valstybės kontrolė (1938) 1937 metų Valstybės biudžeto vykdymo apyskaita. Ministry of Finance, KaunasGoogle Scholar
- Vaskela G (2007) Darbo užmokestis ir darbininkų bei tarnautojų šeimų gyvenimo lygis Lietuvoje, Latvijoje ir Estijoje 1938–1940 metais. Lituanistica 4:19–35Google Scholar
- Vaskela G (2014) Tautiniai aspektai Lietuvos ūkio politikoje 1919–1940 metais. Lietuvos istorijos instituto leidykla, VilniusGoogle Scholar
- Vaskela G (2015) Ekonomika. In: Lietuvos Istorija, vol 10, Nepriklausomybė (1918–1940 m). Lietuvos istorijos instituto leidykla, Vilnius, pp 239–327Google Scholar
- Viet VQ (2009) GDP by production approach: a general introduction with emphasis on an integrated economic data collection framework. United Nations Statistics Division, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- von Hayek FA, Pierson NG, von Mises L, Halm G, Barone E (1935). Collectivist economic planningGoogle Scholar
- Ward M, Devereux J (2004) Relative UK/US output reconsidered: a reply to professor Broadberry. J Econ His 64:879–891CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Žemės ūkio rūmai (1940) Žemės ūkio sąskaitybos rezultatai: 1937/38 ūkio metai. Žemės ūkio rūmai, KaunasGoogle Scholar
- Žiugžda J (1965) Liteuvos TSR istorija, vol 3: nuo 1917 iki 1940 metų. Valstybinė Politinės ir Mokslinės Literatūros Leidykla, VilniusGoogle Scholar
- Zunde P (1963) Soviet industrial policy in Lithuania. Lituanus. http://www.lituanus.org/1963/63_2_02.htm Accessed 10 Feb 2019