Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.17, No.1, 2001. pp. 163186

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Swedish Employment in the 1950s - How to Fill the Lacuna

We present a case study of how to link historical times series. There are no published data on employed people in Sweden between 1950 and 1960. To fill this lacuna we used unpublished extrapolations based on hours worked and provide consistent links for major industries. As an alternative linking series we use taxation statistics on active income earners adjusted to bridge a substantial change in method and definition between 1950 and 1951. Our work illustrates several common problems concerning reclassifications, definition changes, documentation deficiencies and changes in data collection. In validating the data we have used a wide range of information: cross-checking extrapolations, recompilations of censuses, correcting errors, comparisons between sources, and contemporary business cycle information. Our work shows that employment increased in the 1950s, with close to even numbers in the private and public sector, contrary to the strong concentration on public employment growth that previous data indicate.

JEL codes: C80, N34

Industry classification links; taxation statistics; historical time series.

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