The Swedish historical database project (Historicaldatabase)

Project leader

Funding source

EU Seventh Framework Programme - ERC Consolidator Grant

Project Details

Start date: 01/04/2014
End date: 31/03/2019
Funding: 1200000 EUR


The Swedish historical data base project will put together and make publicly available highly disaggregated data on roughlya yearly basis for about 2500 Swedish administrative districts over the period 1749-1952. The finished data set will consist ofcomprehensive and detailed information on economic activity, political characteristics, vital statistics, occupational structure,education, social and agriculture statistics and infrastructure investments (e.g., railway construction). The comprehensivenessand complete coverage of historical data at the local administrative level is what makes this project unique from aninternational perspective. Since Sweden has the longest continuous and reliable data series on population and vital statisticsin the world,starting as early as 1749, makes it possible to construct a comprehensive panel data set over all 2,500 Swedishlocal administrative units covering a 200 year period. Consequently, the total number of observations for each variable can beas large as 0.5 million (N=2500×T=200). With this type of rich and disaggregated historical data it become possible to get abetter understanding of economic growth, structural transformation and economic development. Also, within-country variationallows for more satisfying empirical identification strategies such as instrumental variables, regression discontinuities ordifference-in-differences estimation. As a case in point, I have demonstrated the potential usefulness of the Swedish historicaldata by addressing the question of whether redistribution of resources towards the poor differs between types of democracyafter democratization. The identification strategy is based on a regression-discontinuity design where the type of democracypartly is a function of population size. This paper is currently "revise and resubmit" 2nd round at Econometrica. After collectingthe new data, we intend to studying a number of questions related to economic development and growth.

Last updated on 2018-11-12 at 11:02