International Historical Statistics: The Americas 1750–1988

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9781349130733: International Historical Statistics: The Americas 1750–1988

Recent concern with economic growth has led not only to a vast increase in the quantity and quality of statistics collected and published, but also to an upsurge of interest in the statistics of the past. As attention has turned more and more to the study of the comparative development of different countries, so a need has been felt for a collection of historical statistics comparing different nations. This work meets the need as far as the Americas is concerned. 'A landmark for the economic historian...It is seldom that a publication truly deserves the name of a pioneering book. This one does' English Historical Review 'No economic library should be without it' Economic Journal

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The first edition of this book, published in 1983, had statistics only to the late 1970s and included Australasia. This area will now be included in International Historical Statistics: Africa and Asia. As stated in the introduction, the main purpose of this series is to provide historians and economists with a source of historical data.

The book begins with a table of contents, which is the primary method of access to the 85 tables, since there is no index. This is followed by a list of the primary statistical sources consulted to gather the data. Usually, two or three major national statistical publications were used for each country. Footnotes at the end of some sections refer the reader to additional resources.

A total of 27 countries, representing all the major nations in the Caribbean and South, Central, and North America, are included. The statistics are divided into the following broad areas: population and vital statistics, labor force, agriculture, industry, external trade, transport and communications, finance, prices, education, and national accounts. These broad categories have one- to two-page introductions detailing problems with the accuracy or compilation of the data and other points of interest. Each of these broad areas is then further subdivided into such tables as population, unemployment, output of fruit, money supply, motor vehicles in use, wholesale price indices, and students in universities.

A look at a representative table shows the information found in this book. Statistics for consumer price indexes are included for every country except Surinam. In some cases (e.g., the U.S.) the data go back to 1800, while for Cuba the data end in 1957. However, data for the other nations in the table are from the early 1900s through 1988. The year chosen as the base year is noted. By turning a few pages, one can easily get a picture of the inflation rate over time for these countries.

Gathering statistical information for foreign countries over long periods of time is often difficult--if not impossible--to do using the resources within any one library. Most libraries do not have more than 100 years of statistical publications from countries throughout the Americas. This publication, though expensive, fills that void and should be in large academic libraries having a demand for this type of data. Those libraries also will want to consider the third edition of International Historical Statistics: Europe (1992).

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