The Economic History Review

Updated estimates of UK GDP from the income side, 1841–1920

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Authors: Solomos Solomou, Ryland Thomas
Published online: December 13, 2022DOI: 10.1111/ehr.13219

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This article brings together some of the improvements to GDP estimates from the income side since the publication of Charles Feinstein’s 1972 volume National income, expenditure and output of the United Kingdom, 1855–1965. Many of the improvements and refinements were made by Feinstein himself and this paper makes a start in bringing the different elements together, focusing chiefly on reconstructing the income-based estimates for the period 1841–1920. The new data are then used to comment on several features of the late nineteenth-century UK economy, considering both the trend and cyclical path of the economy. The new data, coupled with modern de-trending methods, suggest that there was a long-term slowing of the UK economy from the late nineteenth century, starting from the 1870s. To undertake the trend–cycle decomposition, we employ a wavelets methodology to describe the time–varying features of trends and cycles over this period.