Source:
http://socialdemocracy21stcentury.blogsp...um=twitter

This is an update of an earlier post, in which I forgot to include Ireland, Greece, Portugal, and Spain in my data.

Here is data on real GDP loss and the duration of the Great Depression for 22 European nations, ranked from the most severe to the least severe real output loss, and we must also remember that some nations had double dip recessions/depressions:

Nation | Real GDP Loss | Years of Contraction
(1) Austria | -22.45% | 1929–1933
(2) Poland | -20.70% | 1930–1933
(3) Czechoslovakia | -18.19% | 1930–1935
(4) Germany | -16.11% | 1929–1932
(5) France | -14.65% | 1930–1932
(6) Yugoslavia | -13.69% | 1930–1932
(7) Bulgaria | -12.72% | 1934–1935
(8) Netherlands | -9.46% | 1930–1934
(9) Hungary | -9.36% | 1930–1932
(10) Switzerland | -8.02% | 1930–1932
(11) Belgium | -7.89% | 1929–1932
(12) Norway | -7.75% | 1931
(13) Greece | -6.46 | 1929–1931
(14) Sweden | -6.20% | 1931–1932
(15) Spain | -5.81 | 1929–1931
(16) UK | -5.80% | 1930–1931
(17) Romania | -5.57% | 1932
(18) Italy | -5.47% | 1930–1931
(19) Ireland | -4.84 | 1932–1933
(20) Romania | -4.57% | 1929
(21) Finland | -3.97% | 1930–1932
(22) Ireland | -3.75% | 1937
(23) Denmark | -2.62% | 1932
(24) Spain | -1.95% | 1933
(25) Bulgaria | -1.91%* | 1929
(26) Portugal | -1.23% | 1930
* The recession in Bulgaria in 1929 may not actually have been caused by the Great Depression, but by Bulgaria’s deflationary return to the Gold Standard in 1928.

From this we can see that Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Germany, France, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria had the most severe depressions in the data.

The Netherlands, Hungary, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway, Greece, Sweden, Spain, the UK and Italy had real output losses ranging from -9.46 to -5.47%

Most surprising is how comparatively mild the Great Depression was in Finland, Denmark, and Portugal. I have not investigated why this is.

Below is the detailed real GDP data, with some extended comments on some nations.

1. Greece
Real GDP in Greece, 1927–1946
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1927 | 13603 |
1928 | 13864 | 1.91%
1929 | 14696 | 6.00%
1930 | 14342 | -2.40%
1931 | 13746 | -4.15%

1932 | 14912 | 8.48%
1933 | 15784 | 5.84%
1934 | 16173 | 2.46%
1935 | 16846 | 4.16%
1936 | 16907 | 0.36%
1937 | 19307 | 14.19%
1938 | 18901 | -2.10%
1939 | 18875 | -0.13%
1940 | 16183 | -14.26%
1941 | 13796 | -14.75%
1942 | 11588 | -16.00%
1943 | 9683 | -16.43%
1944 | 8129 | -16.04%
1945 | 6865 | -15.54%
1946 | 10284 | 49.80%
From 1929 to 1931, real GDP fell by -6.46.

2. Portugal
Real GDP in Portugal, 1927–1946
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1927 | 10772 |
1928 | 9732 | -9.65%
1929 | 10789 | 10.86%
1930 | 10656 | -1.23%
1931 | 11204 | 5.14%

1932 | 11422 | 1.94%
1933 | 12194 | 6.75%
1934 | 12714 | 4.26%
1935 | 12041 | -5.29%
1936 | 11124 | -7.61%
1937 | 12997 | 16.83%
1938 | 13084 | 0.66%
1939 | 13259 | 1.33%
1940 | 12396 | -6.50%
1941 | 13551 | 9.31%
1942 | 13369 | -1.34%
1943 | 14263 | 6.68%
1944 | 15079 | 5.72%
1945 | 14497 | -3.85%
1946 | 15635 | 7.84%
In 1930, real GDP fell by -1.23%.

3. Spain
Real GDP in Spain, 1927–1946
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1927 | 59140 |
1928 | 59371 | 0.39
1929 | 63570 | 7.07
1930 | 61435 | -3.35
1931 | 59871 | -2.54

1932 | 61163 | 2.15
1933 | 59966 | -1.95
1934 | 62231 | 3.77
1935 | 63482 | 2.01
1936 | 49343 | -22.27
1937 | 45272 | -8.25
1938 | 45255 | -0.03
1939 | 48856 | 7.95
1940 | 53585 | 9.67
1941 | 52726 | -1.60
1942 | 55670 | 5.58
1943 | 57724 | 3.68
1944 | 60407 | 4.64
1945 | 56326 | -6.75
1946 | 58854 | 4.48
From 1929 to 1931, real GDP fell by -5.81. A second recession occurred in 1933 with a real output loss of -1.95.
The real output loss from 1936 to 1938 was caused by the Spanish civil war.

4. Italy
Real GDP in Italy, 1928–1945
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1928 | 121 182 |
1929 | 125 180 | 3.29%
1930 | 119 014 | -4.92%
1931 | 118 323 | -0.58%

1932 | 122 140 | 3.22%
1933 | 121 317 | -0.67%
1934 | 121 826 | 0.41%
1935 | 133 559 | 9.63%
1936 | 133 792 | 0.17%
1937 | 142 954 | 6.84%
1938 | 143 981 | 0.71%
1939 | 154 470 | 7.28%
1940 | 155 424 | 0.61%
1941 | 153 517 | -1.22%
1942 | 151 610 | -1.24%
1943 | 137 307 | -9.43%
1944 | 111 562 | -18.74%
1945 | 87 342 | -21.70%
(Maddison 2003: 50).
From 1930 to 1931 the real GDP loss was 5.47%.

5. Austria
Real GDP in Austria, 1928–1938
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1928 | 24 295 | 4.64%
1929 | 24 647 | 1.44%
1930 | 23 967 | -2.75%
1931 | 22 044 | -8.02%
1932 | 19 769 | -10.32%
1933 | 19 113 | -3.31%

1934 | 19 277 | 0.85%
1935 | 19 652 | 1.94%
1936 | 20 238 | 2.98%
1937 | 21 317 | 5.33%
1938 | 24 037 | 12.75%
1939 | 27 250 | 13.36%
1940 | 26 547 | -2.57%
1941 | 28 446 | 7.15%
1942 | 27 016 | -5.02%
1943 | 27 672 | 2.42%
1944 | 28 376 | 2.54%
1945 | 11 726 | -58.67%
(Maddison 2003: 50).
During Austria’s deflationary depression from 1929 to 1933, real output fell by 22.45%.

6. Switzerland
Real GDP in Switzerland, 1928–1945
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1928 | 24 609 |
1929 | 25 466 | 3.48%
1930 | 25 301 | -0.64%
1931 | 24 246 | -4.16%
1932 | 23 422 | -3.39%

1933 | 24 593 | 4.99%
1934 | 24 642 | 0.19%
1935 | 24 543 | -0.40%
1936 | 24 626 | 0.33%
1937 | 25 796 | 4.75%
1938 | 26 785 | 3.83%
1939 | 26 752 | -0.12%
1940 | 27 032 | 1.04%
1941 | 26 851 | -0.66%
1942 | 26 175 | -2.51%
1943 | 25 944 | -0.88%
1944 | 26 571 | 2.41%
1945 | 34 202 | 28.71%
(Maddison 2003: 51).
The real output loss from 1930 to 1932 was 8.02%.

7. Germany
Real GDP in Germany, 1928–1945
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1928 | 263 367 | 4.37%
1929 | 262 284 | -0.41%
1930 | 258 602 | -1.40%
1931 | 238 893 | -7.62%
1932 | 220 916 | -7.52%

1933 | 234 778 | 6.27%
1934 | 256 220 | 9.13%
1935 | 275 496 | 7.52%
1936 | 299 753 | 8.80%
1937 | 317 783 | 6.01%
1938 | 342 351 | 7.73%
1939 | 374 577 | 9.41%
1940 | 377 284 | 0.72%
1941 | 401 174 | 6.33%
1942 | 406 582 | 1.34%
1943 | 414 696 | 1.99%
1944 | 425 041 | 2.49%
1945 | 302 457 | -28.84%
(Maddison 2003: 50).
The real output loss from 1929 to 1932 was 16.11%, extended over four years of depression.

8. France
Real GDP in France, 1928–1945
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1928 | 181 912 |
1929 | 194 193 | 6.75%
1930 | 188 558 | -2.90%
1931 | 177 288 | -5.97%
1932 | 165 729 | -6.51%

1933 | 177 577 | 7.14%
1934 | 175 843 | -0.97%
1935 | 171 364 | -2.54%

1936 | 177 866 | 3.79%
1937 | 188 125 | 5.76%
1938 | 187 402 | -0.38%
1939 | 200 840 | 7.17%
1940 | 165 729 | -17.48%
1941 | 131 052 | -20.92%
1942 | 117 470 | -10.36%
1943 | 111 546 | -5.04%
1944 | 94 207 | -15.54%
1945 | 102 154 | 8.43%
(Maddison 2003: 50).
The real output loss from 1930 to 1932 was 14.65%.

9. Netherlands
Real GDP in Netherlands, 1928–1945
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1928 | 43 921 |
1929 | 44 270 | 0.79%
1930 | 44 170 | -0.22%
1931 | 41 475 | -6.10%
1932 | 40 901 | -1.38%
1933 | 40 826 | -0.18%
1934 | 40 078 | -1.83%

1935 | 41 575 | 3.73%
1936 | 44 195 | 6.30%
1937 | 46 716 | 5.70%
1938 | 45 593 | -2.40%
1939 | 48 687 | 6.78%
1940 | 42 898 | -11.89%
1941 | 40 627 | -5.29%
1942 | 37 133 | -8.60%
1943 | 36 235 | -2.41%
1944 | 24 306 | -32.92%
1945 | 24 880 | 2.36%
(Maddison 2003: 51).
The real output loss from 1930 to 1934 was 9.46%.

10. Belgium
Real GDP in Belgium, 1927–1945
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1927 | 38 913 |
1928 | 40 951 | 5.23%
1929 | 40 595 | -0.86%
1930 | 40 207 | -0.95%
1931 | 39 496 | -1.76%
1932 | 37 717 | -4.50%

1933 | 38 525 | 2.14%
1934 | 38 202 | -0.83%
1935 | 40 563 | 6.18%
1936 | 40 854 | 0.71%
1937 | 41 404 | 1.34%
1938 | 40 466 | -2.26%
1939 | 43 216 | 6.79%
1940 | 38 072 | -11.90%
1941 | 36 067 | -5.26%
1942 | 32 962 | -8.60%
1943 | 32 198 | -2.31%
1944 | 34 094 | 5.88%
1945 | 36 132 | 5.97%
(Maddison 2003: 50).
From 1929 to 1932, there was a real output loss of 7.89%.

11. Denmark
Real GDP in Denmark, 1928–1945
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1928 | 16 735 |
1929 | 17 855 | 6.69%
1930 | 18 917 | 5.94%
1931 | 19 127 | 1.11%
1932 | 18 625 | -2.62%
1933 | 19 220 | 3.19%
1934 | 19 804 | 3.03%
1935 | 20 247 | 2.23%
1936 | 20 749 | 2.47%
1937 | 21 251 | 2.41%
1938 | 21 765 | 2.41%
1939 | 22 803 | 4.76%
1940 | 19 606 | -14.0%
1941 | 17 668 | -9.88%
1942 | 18 065 | 2.24%
1943 | 20 061 | 11.04%
1944 | 22 161 | 10.46%
1945 | 20 493 | -7.52%
(Maddison 2003: 50).
Denmark’s real GDP loss was just 2.62% in 1932.

12. Norway
Real GDP in Norway, 1928–1945
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1928 | 8 879
1929 | 9 705 | 9.30%
1930 | 10 421 | 7.37%
1931 | 9 613 | -7.75%
1932 | 10 255 | 6.67%
1933 | 10 500 | 2.38%
1934 | 10 837 | 3.20%
1935 | 11 302 | 4.29%
1936 | 11 993 | 6.11%
1937 | 12 422 | 3.57%
1938 | 12 734 | 2.51%
1939 | 13 339 | 4.75%
1940 | 12 152 | -8.89%
1941 | 12 446 | 2.41%
1942 | 11 963 | -3.88%
1943 | 11 724 | -1.99%
1944 | 11 112 | -5.22%
1945 | 12 452 | 12.05%
(Maddison 2003: 51).
In 1931 there was a real output loss of 7.75%. Now Norway abandoned the gold standard in 1931 and implemented a loose and stimulative monetary policy, helping banks and apparently preventing financial collapse. A severe and prolonged deflation was avoided and moderate inflation resulted. This must have averted a debt deflationary collapse (though I do not know to what extent excessive private debt was an issue in the Norwegian economy). The end to the gold standard also allowed a currency depreciation, which stimulated export-led growth and import substitution.

Ole Colbjørnsen and the economist Ragnar Frisch proposed a strongly Keynesian policy to revive the Norwegian economy around 1933-1934, but I do not know to what extent it was actually implemented.

Some quick research seems to indicate that from 1935 under Johan Nygaardsvold the Norwegian government engaged in some mild Keynesian fiscal stimulus, though other economists deny this.

Apparently, the Nygaardsvold government did implement welfare measures and the economy revived from export-led growth (to a considerable extent driven by German demand for Norwegian goods) after 1935.

Although government spending rose, it appears to have been covered by tax increases. One suggestion has been that tax policy took in a certain amount of money that was not being spent on capital goods investment or consumption, and hence that government spending was stimulative to some degree, but other scholars dispute this:
“There was a significant growth in the public sector. However, this increase was levelled out by higher taxes. Thus, in this respect, the net effect on demand was neutral. On the other hand, the marginal propensities to consume and save differed from the public to the private sector. Empirical evidence from Norway reflects that the marginal propensity to consume was higher in the public sector than in the private. Thus, [ceteris paribus] ... the relative growth in the public sector had a positive impact on demand. Nevertheless, due to budget discipline and moderate multiplier effects the fiscal policy in Norway under the Labour Party rule in the 1930s was neutral. In sum, fiscal policy seems to have played a minor, if any, role for the relative good performance of the Nordic economies during the 1930s.”

Ola Honningdal Grytten, “Why was the Great Depression not so Great in the Nordic Countries? Economic Policy and Unemployment,” p. 18.
Moreover, the data indicates that Norway had a serious unemployment problem right up to the war:

Unemployment in Norway
Year | Unemployment Rate
1927 | 8.9%
1928 | 7.9%
1929 | 7.0%
1930 | 7.0%
1931 | 10.2%
1932 | 10.6%
1933 | 10.8%
1934 | 10.3%
1935 | 9.9%
1936 | 8.7%
1937 | 7.3%
1938 | 6.8%
1939 | 5.7%
Ola Honningdal Grytten, “Why was the Great Depression not so Great in the Nordic Countries? Economic Policy and Unemployment,” p. 13.
So overall one would have to say that government intervention added recovery to some extent (via monetary policy and banking stabilisation), but also international trade helped. Fiscal stimulus was either too mild or just neutral: it needed to be much larger.

13. Sweden
Real GDP in Sweden, 1928–1945
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1928 | 22 293 |
1929 | 23 651 | 6.09%
1930 | 24 138 | 2.05%
1931 | 23 268 | -3.60%
1932 | 22 641 | -2.69%

1933 | 23 076 | 1.92%
1934 | 24 834 | 7.61%
1935 | 26 418 | 6.37%
1936 | 27 949 | 5.79%
1937 | 29 272 | 4.73%
1938 | 29 759 | 1.66%
1939 | 31 813 | 6.90%
1940 | 30 873 | -2.95%
1941 | 31 395 | 1.69%
1942 | 33 309 | 6.09%
1943 | 34 789 | 4.44%
1944 | 35 972 | 3.40%
1945 | 36 947 | 2.71%
(Maddison 2003: 51).
From 1931 to 1932, there was a real output loss of 6.20%.

14. Finland
Real GDP in Finland, 1928–1945
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1928 | 9 194 |
1929 | 9 302 | 1.17%
1930 | 9 194 | -1.16%
1931 | 8 970 | -2.43%
1932 | 8 932 | -0.42%

1933 | 9 526 | 6.65%
1934 | 10 606 | 11.33%
1935 | 11 059 | 4.27%
1936 | 11 807 | 6.76%
1937 | 12 478 | 5.68%
1938 | 13 123 | 5.16%
1939 | 12 561 | -4.28%
1940 | 11 909 | -5.19%
1941 | 12 299 | 3.27%
1942 | 12 337 | 0.30%
1943 | 13 756 | 11.50%
1944 | 13 762 | 0.04%
1945 | 12 963 | -5.80%
(Maddison 2003: 50).
Real GDP loss from 1930 to 1932 was 3.97%.

15. United Kingdom
Real GDP in the UK, 1928–1945
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1928 | 244 160 |
1929 | 251 348 | 2.94%
1930 | 249 551 | -0.71%
1931 | 236 747 | -5.13%

1932 | 238 544 | 0.75%
1933 | 245 507 | 2.91%
1934 | 261 680 | 6.58%
1935 | 271 788 | 3.86%
1936 | 284 142 | 4.54%
1937 | 294 025 | 3.47%
1938 | 297 619 | 1.22%
1939 | 300 539 | 0.98%
1940 | 330 638 | 10.01%
1941 | 360 737 | 9.10%
1942 | 369 721 | 2.49%
1943 | 377 807 | 2.18%
1944 | 362 983 | -3.92%
1945 | 347 035 | -4.39%
(Maddison 2003: 51).
Real GDP loss from 1930 to 1931 was 5.80%.

16. Ireland
Real GDP in Ireland, 1927–1946
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1927 | 7845 |
1928 | 8058 | 2.71%
1929 | 8294 | 2.92%
1930 | 8480 | 2.24%
1931 | 8716 | 2.78%
1932 | 8508 | -2.38%
1933 | 8294 | -2.51%

1934 | 8562 | 3.23%
1935 | 8812 | 2.91%
1936 | 9056 | 2.76%
1937 | 8716 | -3.75%
1938 | 8965 | 2.85%
1939 | 8955 | -0.11%
1940 | 9028 | 0.81%
1941 | 9135 | 1.18%
1942 | 9043 | -1.00%
1943 | 8991 | -0.57%
1944 | 8985 | -0.06%
1945 | 8912 | -0.81%
1946 | 9025 | 1.26%
From 1931 to 1933, there was a real GDP loss of -4.84. A second recession occurred in 1937, with a GDP loss of -3.75%

17. Yugoslavia
Real GDP in Yugoslavia, 1928–1939
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1928 | 18 381 |
1929 | 19 363 | 5.34%
1930 | 18 995 | -1.90%
1931 | 18 430 | -2.97%
1932 | 16 712 | -9.32%

1933 | 17 228 | 3.08%
1934 | 17 866 | 3.70%
1935 | 17 596 | -1.51%
1936 | 19 878 | 12.96%
1937 | 20 197 | 1.60%
1938 | 21 817 | 8.02%
1939 | 23 019 | 5.50%
There was a total contraction in GDP of -13.69% from 1930 to 1932.

18. Romania
Real GDP in Romania, 1928–1938
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1928 | 16 850 |
1929 | 16 079 | -4.57%
1930 | 17 235 | 7.18%
1931 | 17 640 | 2.34%
1932 | 16 657 | -5.57%
1933 | 17 447 | 4.74%
1934 | 17 640 | 1.10%
1935 | 18 026 | 2.18%
1936 | 18 218 | 1.06%
1937 | 17 447 | -4.23%
1938 | 19 375 | 11.05%
Romania had moderately severe double dip recession, with a -4.57% contraction of GDP in 1929, and -5.57% in 1932.

19. Poland
Real GDP in Poland, 1928–1938
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1929 | 58 980 |
1930 | 56 247 | -4.63%
1931 | 52 177 | -7.23%
1932 | 48 107 | -7.80%
1933 | 46 771 | -2.77%

1934 | 47 439 | 1.42%
1935 | 48 107 | 1.40%
1936 | 49 504 | 2.90%
1937 | 58 980 | 19.14%
1938 | 67 788 | 14.93%
Poland had a real GDP loss of -20.70% from 1930 to 1933.

20. Hungary
Real GDP in Hungary, 1928–1942
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1928 | 20 576 |
1929 | 21 250 | 3.27%
1930 | 20 789 | -2.16%
1931 | 19 786 | -4.82%
1932 | 19 260 | -2.65%

1933 | 21 003 | 9.04%
1934 | 21 135 | 0.62%
1935 | 22 204 | 5.05%
1936 | 23 684 | 6.66%
1937 | 23 158 | -2.22%
1938 | 24 342 | 5.11%
1939 | 26 184 | 7.56%
1940 | 24 391 | -6.84%
1941 | 24 539 | 0.60%
1942 | 25 773 | 5.02%
Hungary experienced a real GDP contraction of -9.36% between 1930 and 1932.

21. Czechoslovakia
Real GDP in Czechoslovakia, 1928–1937
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1928 | 41 106
1929 | 42 240 | 2.75%
1930 | 40 856 | -3.27%
1931 | 39 468 | -3.39%
1932 | 37 886 | -4.00%
1933 | 36 276 | -4.24%
1934 | 34 889 | -3.82%
1935 | 34 556 | -0.95%

1936 | 37 387 | 8.192%
1937 | 41 578 | 11.20%
Czechoslovakia had a real GDP loss of -18.19% from 1930 to 1935. The duration of depression was unusually severe.

22. Bulgaria
Real GDP in Bulgaria, 1928–1942
Year | Real GDP* | Growth Rate
* in millions of international Geary-Khamis dollars
1927 | 7 274 |
1928 | 7 160 | -1.56%
1929 | 7 023 | -1.91%

1930 | 7 741 | 10.22%
1931 | 8 876 | 14.66%
1932 | 8 933 | 0.64%
1933 | 9 084 | 1.69%
1934 | 8 308 | -8.54%
1935 | 7 928 | -4.57%

1936 | 9 659 | 21.83%
1937 | 10 204 | 5.64%
1938 | 10 470 | 2.60%
1939 | 10 599 | 1.23%
1940 | 10 319 | -2.64%
1941 | 10 520 | 1.94%
1942 | 10 018 | -4.77%
Bulgaria’s Great Depression was preceded by real output collapse caused by the return to the gold standard in 1928 at too high a level and by government fiscal austerity. Still, the real output fall in 1929 was a mild -1.91%, and this may have been caused by the deflationary policies implemented from 1928.
The really serious collapse came from 1934 to 1935 at -12.72%.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Grytten, Ola Honningdal. “Why was the Great Depression not so Great in the Nordic Countries? Economic Policy and Unemployment,” online.

Maddison, Angus. 1982. Phases of Capitalist Development. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Maddison, Angus. 2003. The World Economy: Historical Statistics. OECD Publishing, Paris.