In Soviet Russia, data finds you!
September 18, 2010 6:11 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find historical GDP data for the old Soviet Union?

The Penn World Table and other datasets from the World Bank and similar agencies have got annual GDP data for most countries going back to at least 1970. But there is a huge gap for the Soviet Union, and data on Russia and the other republics just appear out of nowhere in 1992.

I know they had issues with recording methodologies etc but I just need some half-reliable numbers from a half-reputable source to plug this hole.
posted by moorooka to Education (3 answers total)
You may not be interested in data, but data is interested in you. -Trotsky, sort of.

Without a meaningful unit of account soviet economic history is a disaster. You can find some "data" at Angus Maddison's (RIP) web page (in the gdp and population tables) and a discussion of the issues in his paper USSR: Assessing the Performance of a Communist Economy on the same page.
posted by shothotbot at 6:26 PM on September 18, 2010

From what I understand, there was systemic lying and confusion throughout the entire Soviet economy. I don't think even the CIA with all its informants (nor the Politburo) had any clear understanding of what was happening; when we talked about the long-term economic health of the USSR in my classes we used primary and secondary sources that spoke in anecdote.
posted by SMPA at 6:29 PM on September 18, 2010

Someone linked me to Gapminder World when I asked a similar question about Soviet-era Polish economic data. It might have what you're after.
posted by msbutah at 9:39 PM on September 18, 2010

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