Historical Social Research

38.4 - East German Industry

HSR Vol. 38 (2013) No. 4:
Focus: East German Industry 1950-2000

Gerhard Heske: Value Added, Employment and Capital Expenditures in the East German Industry, 1950-2000: Data, Methods, Comparisons

Industry was the most important economic sector in the GDR. Of all the countries within the Eastern Bloc (Comecon), only the USSR achieved higher added value per capita than the GDR’s industrial sector. The quantitative description of industrial output in the GDR nevertheless continues to be characterized by significant data gaps and a lack of comparable, long-term time series for important performance and expenditure values calculated in accordance with contemporary statistical standards.

This HSR Focus presents new calculations for added value, employment and capital expenditures which close these gaps at both an overall industrial level and branch level between 1950 and 1989. The calculations take the form of backward projections carried out in accordance with the current conceptual and methodological principles of national accounting (ESA 1995). The incorporation of current data for the new German federal states from 1991 onwards into the data base facilitates the extension of the time horizon for the time series. This yields a comparable reflection of the development of economic indicators for the industrial sector in Eastern Germany over a 50-year period (1950-2000). The time series determined pave the way for a new, fact-based assessment of the real results achieved by the GDR economy. The presentation of the data assessed is accompanied by a thorough description of the methods and sources used.

The tables provided in this HSR Focus are also available online for further use in GESIS’ database “Historical Time Series” (HISTAT).

This HSR issue contains a Mixed Issue containing four articles.