Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Indonesian Economic Development 1800-2000

This project is a concerted effort of several researchers at different universities and research institutions. The aim of the project is to reconstruct the national accounts of Java (1815-1939) and of Indonesia (1900-2000) and to analyze the long-term evolution of the economy of Indonesia in this period. The reconstructed national accounts will serve as the prime source of information about the economy's development over time. This provides an analytical framework for a more thorough understanding of changes and discontinuities in the economic performance of Indonesia.

The project consists of two parts:

  1. Reconstruction National Accounts of Java 1815-1939 by Jan Luiten van Zanden (IISH). The preliminary results are now available in the form of a number of working papers on the Internet. First results have already been published in 'Rich and Poor before the Industrial Revolution: a comparison between Java and the Netherlands at the beginning of the 19th century', in Explorations in Economic History 40(2003) 1-23. The planning of this subproject is that in 2004-6 more papers will be published in refereed journals. The end-product will be a book on Indonesian economic development 1800-1940 to be published in 2007/8.
    The data on the Public Finance of Indonesia in the period 1817-1940 are already available (see below):
    - Government revenue in the Netherlands East Indies 1848-1940
    - Government expenditure in the Netherlands East Indies 1848-1940
    - Public Finance of Indonesia 1817-1940, about the datafiles, by Joost Mellegers
  2. Reconstruction National Accounts of Indonesia 1900-2000, a project headed by Pierre van der Eng (Australian National University Canberra; in cooperation with Thomas Lindblad (University of Leiden) and Jan Luiten van Zanden (IISH). The project is set up in collaboration with the Asian Historical Statistics project of Hitotsubashi University Tokyo. The aim is to create a database containing estimates of GDP and its components for 1900-2000, and to analyze economic growth in the past century. The outcome of the Reconstruction Project is twofold: a source publication containing the reconstructed accounts (also accessible on CD-ROM and through Internet) and a first comprehensive analysis using these data. A more elaborate description of the program is also available. The preliminary estimates by Van der Eng are available on his personal website.


  • Human Capital and Economic Growth in India, Indonesia, and Japan: A quantitative analysis, 1890-2000, thesis by Bas van Leeuwen
  • The services sector in Indonesian economic development 1900-2000, by Daan Marks