The Economic History Review

Revising growth history: new estimates of GDP for Norway, 1816–2019

Volume 75 Issue 1
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Pages: 181-202Authors: Ola Honningdal Grytten
Published online: July 8, 2021DOI: 10.1111/ehr.13085

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This article offers revised historical national accounts for Norway for the period 1816–2019. The revisions have been carried out on both the production side and the expenditure side. The major difference is that the new series include a significantly broader set of data than the previous series. This makes it possible to calculate GDP for a wider set of industries with more detailed and precise data, in a way that is more in line with modern national accounting methodology. The new series deviate at some points from the previous series. In particular, they show higher growth rates during the last half of the nineteenth century until 1906 and lower growth rates from 1918 to 1930. This is basically due to improved quality of deflators and partly due to the extended use of a double deflation technique. The revised output and input figures play a less important role. In light of the revised series, parts of Norway’s economic growth and development history should be revised. Comparisons with Denmark and Sweden reveal a relatively higher level of GDP per capita for Norway during the second half of the nineteenth century than according to the previous series.