GDP Data for Analysing Business Cycles

  • Nicholas DimsdaleEmail author
  • Ryland Thomas


This chapter discusses the historical national accounts data that are available for the UK. It looks at recent developments in historical national accounting and examines some of the new data that has become available that improves our ability to dissect cyclical fluctuations in activity. It discusses the three different ways of estimating GDP and how compromise and balanced measures can be constructed from the three approaches for the UK. It also considers the appropriate geographical area for analysis. A composite summary measure of GDP is constructed from the different historical estimates and covers England (to 1720), Great Britain (to 1870) and the pre and post-1922 definitions of the UK (to the present day). This can be used in a univariate analysis of the cycle.


Historical national accounts GDP Univariate analysis 


  1. Andersson, F., & Lennard, J. (2019). Irish GDP Between the Famine and the First World War: Estimates Based on a Dynamic Factor Model. European Review of Economic History, 23(1), 50–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Boyer, G., & Hatton, T. (2002). New Estimates of British Unemployment, 1870–1913. The Journal of Economic History, 62(3), 643–675.Google Scholar
  3. Broadberry, S., Campbell, B., Klein, A., Overton, M., & van Leeuwen, B. (2015). British Economic Growth 1270–1870. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Chadha, J., Lennard, J., Tchuente, G., & Thomas, R. (2019). Quarterly GDP Estimates for the United Kingdom, 1938–55. Mimeo.Google Scholar
  5. Crafts, N. F. R., & Harley, C. K. (1992). Output Growth and the British Industrial Revolution: A Restatement of the Crafts-Harley View. The Economic History Review, 45(4), 703–730.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Crafts, N., & Mills, T. (2017). Six Centuries of British Economic Growth: A Time-Series Perspective. European Review of Economic History, 21(2), 141–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Deane, P. (1968). New Estimates of Gross National Product for the United Kingdom, 1830–1914. Review of Income and Wealth, 14(2), 95–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Deane, P., & Cole, W. (1962). British Economic Growth, 1688–1959: Trends and Structure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Denley, H. (2016). National Accounts Historic Dataset Developments Since Blue Book 2011. Office for National Statistics Article.Google Scholar
  10. Everett, G. (2011). Historic National Accounts. Office for National Statistics Article.Google Scholar
  11. Feinstein, C. (1972). National Income Expenditure and Output of the United Kingdom 1855–1965. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Feinstein, C. (1990). What Really Happened to Real Wages? Trends in Wages, Prices, and Productivity in the United Kingdom, 1880–1913. The Economic History Review, 43(3), 329–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Feinstein, C., & Pollard, S. (1988). Studies in Capital Formation in the United Kingdom 1750–1920. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Geary, F., & Stark, T. (2004). Trends in Real Wages During the Industrial Revolution: A View from Across the Irish Sea. The Economic History Review, 57(2), 362–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Geary, F., & Stark, T. (2015). Regional GDP in the UK, 1861–1911: New Estimates. The Economic History Review, 68(1), 123–144.Google Scholar
  16. Geary, F., & Stark, T. (2018). 150 Years of Regional GDP: United Kingdom and Ireland. In J. Rosés & N. Wolf (Eds.), The Economic Development of Europe’s Regions: A Quantitative History Since 1900. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Harrison, M. (1990). A Volume Index of the Total Munitions Output of the United Kingdom, 1939–1944. Economic History Review, 43(2), 659–668.Google Scholar
  18. Hoffmann, W. (1955). British Industry 1700–1950. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  19. Horrell, S., Humphries, J., & Weale, M. (1994). An Input-Output Table for 1841. The Economic History Review, 47(3), 545–566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Howlett, P. (1995). Fighting with Figures: A Statistical Digest of the Second World War. London: Central Statistical Office.Google Scholar
  21. Martin, B. (2009). Resurrecting the UK Historic Sector National Accounts. Review of Income and Wealth, 55(3), 737–751.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mitchell, B. (1988). British Historical Statistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Mitchell, J., Solomou, S., & Weale, M. (2012). Monthly GDP Estimates for Inter-War Britain. Explorations in Economic History, 49(4), 543–556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sefton, J., & Weale, M. (1995). Reconciliation of National Income and Expenditure: Balanced Estimates of National Income for the United Kingdom, 1920–1990. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Solomou, S., & Thomas, R. (2019). Feinstein Fulfilled: GDP from the Income Side 1841–1920 (ESCoE Technical Report 04).Google Scholar
  26. Solomou, S., & Weale, M. (1991). Balanced Estimates of UK GDP 1870–1913. Explorations in Economic History, 28(1), 54–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Thomas, R., & Dimsdale, N. (2017). A Millennium of UK Macroeconomic Data: Bank of England OBRA Dataset. London, UK: Bank of England.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Bank of EnglandLondonUK

Personalised recommendations