This dataset provides detailed census-level data for Manufacturing in the US, Germany and Great Britain for selected years between 1899 and 1939. It covers output, horsepower, employment and efficiency at the 2-, 3- and 4-digit industry level. It also provides a benchmark comparison for the US and Germany around 1936 and a Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) decomposing productivity level differences.

AUTHORS: Marcel Timmer, Joost Veenstra and Pieter Woltjer


The data-set for this paper is split into four distinct parts: (1) the raw (disaggregate) census data; (2) a benchmark comparison of US and German productivity ca. 1936; (3) US and German horsepower statistics ca. 1907 and 1936; and, (4) US, German and British output, horsepower, employment and efficiency figures from the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) for selected years between 1899 and 1939. All data, with the exception of the raw data, are at the 2-digit or 3-digit industry level.

file variables countries years # obs.
icn_excel YoE_data_all va_q, l, hp, yl, kl, va, go, wag, sal, go_p, h_avg, h, emp, empe, emps GB, GER, US 1899-1939 110,000
icn_excel YoE_appendix_bm36 va, go, emp, ppp GER, US 1936 408
icn_excel YoE_appendix_hp hp GER, US 1907, 1936 252
icn_excel YoE_appendix_dea va, emp, hp, eff GB, GER, US 1899-1939 10,762

Sources and Methods

A detailed description of the sources and the steps taken to compile the data-set underlying the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) are provided in the PDF file below. The MatLab code for the linear optimization problem to estimate the technology frontiers and the efficiency scores for individual observation is also available for download. Please contact the author for a Minimal Working Example (MWE) of the DEA.

file description
icn_pdf YoE_sources Overview of sources and methods underlying data-set
icn_pdf YoE_deafun MatLab function to estimate technology frontiers and efficiency scores



IMPORTANT: the data underlying ‘The Yankees of Europe?‘ are freely available as long as the article below is cited appropriately:

Timmer, Marcel, Joost Veenstra and Pieter Woltjer. “The Yankees of Europe? A New View on Technology and Productivity in German Manufacturing in the Early Twentieth Century.” The Journal of Economic History 76, no. 3 (2016): 874-908.

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