EH.net`s Global Finance Database: An Interesting Gap in the Data

29 06 2011

The Global Finance database was the basis of Olivier Accominotti, Marc Flandreau, and Riad Rezzik’s 2011 article “The Spread of Empire: Clio and the Measurement of Colonial Borrowing Costs”, in The Economic History Review. The database is an extension of the one published in Marc Flandreau and Frédéric Zumer’s 2004 book The Making of Global Finance, which can be read online here.

The Global Finance database includes 18 sovereign countries: Argentina (ARGE), Austria- Hungary (AH), Belgium (BELG), Brazil (BRAZ), Denmark (DENM), France (FRAN), Germany (GERM), Greece (GREE), Italy (ITAL), Netherlands (NETH), Norway (NORW), Portugal (PORT), Russia (RUSS), Spain (SPAI), Sweden (SWED), Switzerland (SWIT), the United Kingdom (UNIK) and the United States (USA) and 15 colonies of the British Empire: Canada (CAN), Cape Colony (CAP), Ceylon (CEY), Egypt (EGY), India (IND), Jamaica (JAM);Mauritius (MAU), Natal (NAT), New South Wales (NSW), New Zealand (NZL), Queensland (QUE), South Australia (SAU), Tasmania (TAS); Victoria (VIC), Western Australia (WAU).

You can download the entire database in Excel files here.

The series provides all sorts of interesting data for the countries in the period 1880-1913: Government revenue, Budget Deficit, Nominal public debt, Nominal exports, Population,Yields on government bonds, Exchange rates, percentage of the population with the right to vote. From a political economist`s perspective, the last variable is perhaps the most interesting.

I have noticed a very interesting gap in the data. I`m not pointing this out to criticize any of the scholars involved in creating the dataset. I simply want to identify an opportunity for additional research.

Data about the level of enfranchisement in  sovereign countries is provided (see below), but equivalent figures for the self-governing British colonies such as Canada, New Zealand, etc are not. This is a major omission.

21.  ENFRANCHISED PERCENTAGE OF POPULATION
Sovereign Countries
Fraction of population with right to vote
AH ARGE BELG BRAZ DENM FRAN GERM GREE ITAL
1880: 0.004 0.020 0.015 0.000 0.037 0.215 0.065 0.050 0.013
1881: 0.004 0.020 0.015 0.000 0.045 0.184 0.056 0.050 0.013
1882: 0.004 0.020 0.015 0.000 0.045 0.184 0.056 0.050 0.042
1883: 0.004 0.020 0.015 0.000 0.045 0.184 0.056 0.050 0.042
1884: 0.004 0.020 0.019 0.000 0.035 0.184 0.061 0.050 0.042
1885: 0.005 0.020 0.019 0.000 0.035 0.204 0.061 0.050 0.042
1886: 0.005 0.020 0.013 0.000 0.035 0.204 0.061 0.050 0.048
1887: 0.005 0.020 0.013 0.000 0.054 0.204 0.079 0.050 0.048
1888: 0.005 0.020 0.018 0.000 0.054 0.204 0.079 0.050 0.048
1889: 0.005 0.020 0.018 0.000 0.054 0.208 0.079 0.050 0.048
1890: 0.005 0.020 0.013 0.000 0.053 0.208 0.073 0.050 0.049
1891: 0.007 0.020 0.013 0.000 0.053 0.208 0.073 0.050 0.049
1892: 0.007 0.020 0.017 0.000 0.053 0.208 0.073 0.050 0.053
1893: 0.007 0.020 0.017 0.000 0.051 0.186 0.075 0.050 0.053
1894: 0.007 0.020 0.202 0.021 0.051 0.186 0.075 0.050 0.053
1895: 0.007 0.020 0.202 0.021 0.049 0.186 0.075 0.050 0.039
1896: 0.007 0.020 0.195 0.021 0.049 0.186 0.075 0.050 0.039
1897: 0.021 0.020 0.195 0.021 0.049 0.186 0.075 0.050 0.038
1898: 0.021 0.020 0.208 0.026 0.047 0.202 0.071 0.050 0.038
1899: 0.021 0.020 0.208 0.026 0.047 0.202 0.071 0.050 0.038
1900: 0.021 0.020 0.207 0.026 0.047 0.202 0.071 0.050 0.039
1901: 0.021 0.020 0.207 0.026 0.081 0.202 0.071 0.050 0.039
1902: 0.021 0.020 0.207 0.033 0.081 0.216 0.071 0.050 0.039
1903: 0.021 0.020 0.207 0.033 0.086 0.216 0.081 0.050 0.039
1904: 0.021 0.020 0.204 0.033 0.086 0.216 0.081 0.050 0.046
1905: 0.021 0.020 0.204 0.033 0.086 0.216 0.081 0.050 0.046
1906: 0.021 0.020 0.207 0.014 0.115 0.224 0.081 0.050 0.046
1907: 0.084 0.020 0.207 0.014 0.115 0.224 0.090 0.050 0.046
1908: 0.084 0.020 0.209 0.014 0.115 0.224 0.090 0.050 0.046
1909: 0.084 0.020 0.209 0.014 0.118 0.224 0.090 0.050 0.053
1910: 0.084 0.028 0.215 0.025 0.127 0.214 0.090 0.050 0.053
1911: 0.080 0.028 0.215 0.025 0.127 0.214 0.090 0.050 0.053
1912: 0.080 0.028 0.221 0.025 0.127 0.214 0.092 0.050 0.053
1913: 0.080 0.028 0.221 0.025 0.129 0.214 0.092 0.050 0.142

If a reader knows of anyone who has compiled the enfranchisement figures for the self-governing British colonies, I would be grateful if they could contact me.

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