I'm trying to understand how economic composition changed during the world wars in various countries. One route would be following the expenditure approach to gdp accounting, but in more detail. For example there is data on us gdp composition. US-GDP-Components-from-1929-to-2011

A drop of several percentage points of private consumption and private investment during ww2 can be seen. How do these drops occur? Which goods were consumed less? In which categories did investment decline, buildings or machinery.

I have found some data on US consumption spending, but its only nominal data and so pretty much useless.bls.gov

Is anyone aware of good sources on the topic? I assume no major new goods were introduced to consumption baskets during the short time spans considered, so availability of data should be the main obstacle to obtaining these statistics.

An alternative approach would be to estimate labor inputs in various sectors of the economy. I know that the number of agricultural workers declined for example in Germany during ww2. Is there any data for the number of workers (ideally for men and women separately, to illustrate the entry of women into the workforce) in the various sectors of the economy. I'd like to find some data that is more detailed than the 3-sectors model of the economy.

  • 2
    Given how much of every country's economy was being artificially distorted by government direction, I'd be very careful in analyzing wartime economic stats. Comparing them to non-wartime stats seems particularly hazardous.
    – T.E.D.
    Nov 6, 2021 at 17:37
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    To see how the economy was different during wartime is what I want to do. So which distortions are you worried about? I guess you should be able for example to analyse consumption at prewar prices. And why would the number of workers suffer from any nominal distortion that is not real? My goal is only to get a descriptive picture.
    – heth
    Nov 6, 2021 at 17:52
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    This question is asking for a survey of a major sub-field of economic history. I would recommend starting with some books Mark Harrison contributed to on WWI and WWII.
    – Brian Z
    Nov 7, 2021 at 21:58


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