Guns and Butter - But No Margarine: The Impact of Nazi Economic Policies on German Food Consumption, 1933-1938

FZID Discussion Paper 23-2010

23 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2011  

Jochen Streb

University of Mannheim

Mark Spoerer

University of Hohenheim - Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences

Date Written: December 20, 2010

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.

Keywords: standard of living, food consumption, Third Reich, revealed preference

JEL Classification: N34, D12, P46

Suggested Citation

Streb, Jochen and Spoerer, Mark, Guns and Butter - But No Margarine: The Impact of Nazi Economic Policies on German Food Consumption, 1933-1938 (December 20, 2010). FZID Discussion Paper 23-2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1734743 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1734743

Jochen Streb (Contact Author)

University of Mannheim ( email )

L7, 3-5
Mannheim, 68131
Germany

Mark Spoerer

University of Hohenheim - Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences ( email )

Germany

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