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Guns and butter - but no margarine: The impact of Nazi economic policies on German food consumtion, 1933-38

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  • Spoerer, Mark
  • Streb, Jochen

Abstract

The German population's material standard of living during the 'peace years' of the Nazi regime (1933-38) is much debated. We use hitherto disregarded consumption data and the axiom of revealed preferences to test whether the material standard of living improved. We find that the food consumption bundle realized in 1935-36 must have been inferior to that of 1927-28 although GDP per capita was much higher. Even in 1937-38 consumers were probably worse off compared to 1927-28. We conclude that increasing consumption constraints forced German consumers to a diet and thus to a material standard of living that were much more frugal than national income figures suggest.

Suggested Citation

  • Spoerer, Mark & Streb, Jochen, 2010. "Guns and butter - but no margarine: The impact of Nazi economic policies on German food consumtion, 1933-38," FZID Discussion Papers 23-2010, University of Hohenheim, Center for Research on Innovation and Services (FZID).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fziddp:232010
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    Cited by:

    1. Robin Winkler, 2015. "Feast or Famine: The Welfare Impact of Food Price Controls in Nazi Germany," Economics Series Working Papers Number 136, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    2. Robin Winkler, 2015. "Feast or Famine: The Welfare Impact of Food Price Controls in Nazi Germany," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _136, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    3. Rainer Fremdling & Reiner Staeglin, 2014. "Editor's choice Output, national income, and expenditure: an input–output table of Germany in 1936," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 371-397.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • P46 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty

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