ifo Prussian Economic History Database (iPEHD)
The ifo Prussian Economic History Database (iPEHD) is a county-level database covering a rich collection of variables for all counties of Prussia during the 19th century. The Royal Prussian Statistical Office collected these data in a number of censuses over the period 1816-1901, with much county-level information surviving in the archives. These data provide a unique treasure for unprecedented micro-regional empirical research in economic history, analyzing the importance of such factors as education, religion, fertility, and many others for the economic development of Prussia in the 19th century. In total, iPEHD contains more than 1,500 variables and more than half a million data points, all at the county level. These data are drawn from a total of 15 original sources, many of which consist of several volumes.
The iPEHD data are categorized into the following eight content areas:
- Education - This area contains, among others, such data as the number of students, teachers, and schools by school type, literacy, and school finance.
- Occupation - This area contains, among others, data on the labor force in agriculture, in factories, in manufacturing, in crafts, and in services.
- Wages and Income Tax - This area contains data on daily wages of day laborers, on teacher income, and on income taxes.
- Industry - This area contains data on a huge number of different factories, technologies, and transportation.
- Agriculture - This area contains, among others, such data as livestock, crop yields, soil composition, and the distribution of land.
- Population - This area contains data on the population by age, by gender, and by marital status, on birth and deaths, and on population with disabilities.
- Religion - This area contains denomination-specific data on population, literacy, education, occupation, and number of churches.
- Miscellaneous - This area contains data on the surface area, buildings, municipalities, and residential areas for each county.
iPEHD starts with the population census in 1816, which is the first full-scale census released by the Royal Prussian Statistical Office, which had been founded in 1805. Further extensive census data are available in 1849, 1864, 1871, and 1882, but many more detailed data were collected in additional years. The 1816 census covers the 308 Prussian counties at the time. As the number of counties grew over time, by 1901 the data cover 574 Prussian counties.
Population / Sample
Prussia and its counties during the 19th century
The 1816 census covers the 308 Prussian counties at the time. As the number of counties grew over time, by 1901 the data cover 574 Prussian counties.
Survey Procedure and Instruments
The iPEHD data have been digitized from different sources originally published by the Royal Prussian Statistical Bureau or its employees. Further information on all the volumes used as sources for iPEHD can be found here.
Some examples are:
Mützell, Alexander A. (1821-25). Neues Topographisch-statistisch-geographisches Wörterbuch des Preussischen Staats. Band 1-6. Halle: Karl August Kümmel.
Statistisches Bureau zu Berlin (1851-55). Tabellen und amtliche Nachrichten über den Preussischen Staat für das Jahr 1849. Band 1-6b. Berlin: Statistisches Bureau zu Berlin.
Königlich Preussisches Statistisches Bureau (1863). Die Eisen-, Stein- und Wasserstrassen des preussischen Staates im Jahre 1862. Zeitschrift des Königlich Preussischen Statistischen Bureaus, 3, 206–214.
Link to the Detailed Description of the Study
Data Accessible via Research Data Centre
A zip-file containing all iPEHD data files together can be accessed here:
Documentation of Variables
Selection of Publications using the Data
Becker, S., Cinnirella, F., Hornung, E. & Wößmann, L. (2014). iPEHD - The ifo Prussian Economic History Database. Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, 47 (2), 57-66.
Becker, S. O., Cinnirella, F. & Wößmann, L. (2013). Does Women’s Education Affect Fertility? Evidence from Pre-Demographic Transition Prussia. European Review of Economic History, 17 (1), 24-44.
Becker, S. O., Hornung, E. & Wößmann, L. (2011). Education and Catch-up in the Industrial Revolution. American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 3 (3), 92–126.
Becker, S. O. & Wößmann, L. (2009). Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 124 (2), 531–596.