Where can I find historic income rates for various foreign countries?
June 2, 2010 9:29 AM   Subscribe

Where can I find historic income rates for various foreign countries?

Some relatives were discussing their life in Poland prior to their moving to the US. They had an argument about what the correct average income was in 1979. Being that half the family came from a more financially well to do family and the other from a not so well to do branch, they dispute how high (or low) it was. The country I'm specifically looking for is Poland but if you have a resource that includes more than just Poland I would love to see it.
posted by msbutah to Education (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
For what it's worth, here's the CIA World Factbook entry for Poland in the 1989 edition:

http://www.theodora.com/wfb1989/poland/poland_economy.html

Note that the publishers of this book are the same people who didn't foresee the collapse of Communism later that year.

From a practical point of view, I think income estimates for economies under Communism are difficult if not impossible. There was no functioning market, so there are no real prices that you can use to say that Product A relates to Product B by such-and-such ratio, even if there's some fake exchange rate published by the government. Also, contemporary estimates of Communist economic performance were wildly off the mark on the high side, e.g., Paul Samuelson at the time thought the Soviet economy would overtake the American one by 1990.
posted by chengjih at 10:06 AM on June 2, 2010


Yeah that's probably why I'm running into problems. I don't even want exact numbers, just something that's marginally close (ie 1000zł vs 7500zł).
posted by msbutah at 10:41 AM on June 2, 2010


Try playing around with Gapminder. It's really neat.
posted by Perplexity at 12:16 PM on June 2, 2010


Awesome Perplexity. I've never seen that site. FWIW the Inflation Adjusted Average Income in Poland in 1979 was $9496.
posted by msbutah at 12:31 PM on June 2, 2010


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