ESTONIAN ACADEMY
PUBLISHERS
eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
PUBLISHED
SINCE 1997
 
Acta cover
Acta Historica Tallinnensia
ISSN 1736-7476 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-2925 (Print)
ESTONIAN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION DATA: AN INTERPRETATION THROUGH COMPARISON; pp. 145–162
PDF | doi: 10.3176/hist.2008.1.08

Author
Martin KLESMENT
Abstract
This article is about Estonian agricultural production data series from 1920 to 2000. The data are used for international comparisons. The author assumes that possible errors in the statistics of Soviet years, such as unrealistic agricultural yields, may be exposed if the data are used for international comparisons. Also, the author attempts a simple agricultural output aggregation and speculates with the figures of Estonian agricultural labour force after World War II.
References

1. Soviet statistics and its reliability have been widely discussed by economists and historians throughout several decades. To mention only a few of the important works in this category: Gerschenkron, A. The soviet indexes of industrial production. – Review of Economics and Statistics, 1947, 29, 4; Bergson, A. The Real National Income of Soviet Russia since 1928. Harvard UP, Cambridge, 1961; Davies, R. W. et al. The Economic Transformation of the Soviet Union, 1913–1945. CUP, Cambridge, 1994. Statistical problems of the Soviet system are also present in the discussion on historical national accounts of the Soviet bloc. See Marer, P. et al. Historically Planned Economies. A Guide to the Data. The World Bank, Washington, D.C., 1992.

2. See for instance Ekbaum, A. Destruction of Independent Farming in East Europe. Estonian Information Centre, Stockholm, 1949; Järvesoo, E. Progress despite collectivization: agriculture in Estonia. – In: Ziedonis, A. et al. (eds). Problems of Mininations. Baltic Perspective. California State University, San Jose, 1973; Järvesoo, E. Die Estnische Landwirtschaft während der Sowjet­periode 1945–1972. – Acta Baltica, 1974, XIII; Laasi, E. Mõnedest korrigeerimist vajavatest arvu­dest. Manuscript for Eesti NSV TA Toimetised. Ühiskonnateadused, 1971, 2; Poom, E. The productivity of collective and private enterprise in agriculture. A comparative study of soviet and Estonian achievements. – In:Societas Litterarum Estonica in Svecia. Stockholm, 1949; Purre, A. Soviet Farming Failure Hits Estonia. Estonian Information Centre, Stockholm, 1964; Purre, A. Die Landwirtschaft Estlands im Rahmen der allgemeinen Agrarpolitik der Sowjetunion. – Acta Baltica, 1966, V; Taagepera, R. Soviet collectivization of Estonian agriculture: the taxation phase. – Journal of Baltic Studies, 1979, X, 3; Taagepera, R. Soviet collectivization of Estonian agri­culture: the deportation phase. – Soviet Studies, 1980, XXXII, 3; Kõll, A.-M. Tender wolves. Identification and persecution of kulaks in Viljandimaa 1940–1949. – In: Mertelsmann, O. (ed.). The Sovietization of the Baltic States, 1940–1956. Kleio, Tartu, 2003; Mertelsmann, O. Der stalinistische Umbau in Estland. Von der Markt- zur Kommandowirtschaft. Verlag Dr. Kovač, Hamburg, 2006; Vint, E. Intensiivse põllumajanduse majanduslik efektiivsus Eesti NSV-s. Valgus, Tallinn, 1971.

3. Eestis kasvatatud tera- ja kaunviljakultuuride külvipind, kogutoodang ja saagikus (aidakaalus) 1955–1990. a. Eesti Statistikaamet, Tallinn, 1991.

4. Choice of foreign countries is made on the basis of geographic proximity, agricultural profile and data availability. All foreign statistics are from Mitchell, B. R. International Historical Statistics. Europe 1750–2000. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2003.

5. Kõll, A.-M. Peasants on the World Market. Agricultural Experience of Independent Estonia 1919–1939. Almqvist & Wiksell, Stockholm, 1994.

6. About the discussion on Estonian agriculture after World War II and for an overview of Estonian economy during the Soviet rule see Klesment, M. The Estonian economy under soviet rule: a historiographic overview. – Journal of Baltic Studies, forthcoming.

7. The transition of agriculture has been dealt with in Jörgensen, H. Continuity or Not?: Family Farming and Agricultural Transformation in 20th Century Estonia. Umeå University, Umeå, 2004.

8. All graphs have the same sources: foreign data are from Mitchell, B. R. International Historical Statistics. Europe 1750–2000; Estonian agricultural production data are from Klesment, M., Valge, J. (eds). Eesti rahvastiku majandustegevuse näitarve XX sajandil. EKDK, Tallinn, 2007; all Estonian population related data are from Table 3.

9. This has been described in Klesment, M., Valge, J. (eds). Eesti rahvastiku majandus­tegevuse näitarve XX sajandil, 30–36.

10. Average yields are based on annual data, not area and crop averages.

11. See Mertelsmann, O. Der stalinistische Umbau in Estland, 187–196.

12. Index based graphs use data series that are calculated as 3-year moving average of absolute yield figures. This is used to decrease the intensity of periodical fluctuations.

13. Mertelsmann, O. Der stalinistische Umbau, 193–194.

14. See for example Purre, A. Soviet Farming Failure Hits Estonia. It should be noted that later even Soviet publications admitted poor agricultural performance in the mid-1950s. See Vint, E. Intensiivse põllumajanduse majanduslik efektiivsus Eesti NSV-s, 168.

15. See Purre, A. Die Landwirtschaft Estlands im Rahmen der allgemeinen Agrarpolitik der Sowjetunion.

16. See Järvesoo, E. Progress despite collectivization: agriculture in Estonia. – In: Ziedonis, A. et al.(eds). Problems of Mininations. Baltic Perspective; Järvesoo, E. Die Estnische Landwirtschaft während der Sowjetperiode 1945–1972.

17. Calorie values used (kCal/kg): rye 3350, wheat 3390, barley 3520, potato 860, all meat combined 3113, milk 660. The data were obtained from or estimated on the basis of US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Accessed on 24 August 2007 at http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/

18. Mertelsmann, O. Der stalinistische Umbau in Estland, 199–200.

19. Järvesoo, E. Private Enterprise in Soviet Estonian Agriculture. Baltic Scientific Conference. Stockholm, 1973; Järvesoo, E. Privatunternehmen in der sowjetestnischen Landwirtschaft. – Acta Baltica, 1977, XVI.

20. For labour force estimates in interwar Estonia see Klesment, M. Eesti majandusarengu dünaa­mika näitajaid sõdadevahelisel perioodil. – Tuna, forthcoming.

21. This simulates a situation where 23% of total agricultural producers would appear not counted by statistics in 1950, 20% in 1964, 16% in 1979, and 0% in 1989. This share in the 1960s is lower than private sector’s share in total output suggested by Järvesoo. However, it is assumed that a part of private producers were also officially working in agriculture. Moreover, bearing in mind the calorie output calculation it is regarded that private sector was more focused on potato growing, which has lower calorie content than grain.

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