Indonesian Economic History

Researchers involved: Jan Luiten van Zanden and Bas van Leeuwen


This project has been a concerted effort of several researchers at different universities and research institutions. The aim of the project was 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 formed the prime source of information about the economy's development over time. The national accounts provided an analytical framework for a more thorough understanding of changes and discontinuities in the economic performance of Indonesia.

Sub projects:

  • Reconstruction National Accounts:
    • Reconstruction Javanese National Accounts, 1815 – 1939 | Jan Luiten van Zanden
    • Reconstruction of the National Accounts of Indonesia, 1890-2008 | Pierre van der Eng, Thomas Lindblad and Jan Luiten van Zanden
  • Public Finance of Indonesia, 1848 – 194 | Jan Luiten van Zanden and Joost mellegers
  • Human Capital | Bas van Leeuwen
  • The Economic Development of the Indonesian Service Sector, ca 1900-2000 | Daan Marks
  • Javanese Rice prices, 1823 – 2006 | Jan Luiten van Zanden
  • Synthesis of the project: a book about the economic history of Indonesia (1800 - 2010) was published in English and Bahasa Indonesia in 2012.


A) Datafiles:

B) Publications: 

  • Papers:
    • Gareth Austin, Joerg Baten and Bas van Leeuwen, ‘The biological standard of living in early nineteenth-century West Africa: new anthropometric evidence for northern Ghana and Burkina Faso’, The Economic History Review, Vol. 65 (4) 2012, pp. 1280-1302.
    • Jan Luiten van Zanden, ‘Colonial state formation and patterns of economic development in Java, 1800-1913’, Economic History of Developing Regions Vol. 25 (2), pp. 155-176.
    • Pierre van der Eng, ‘The sources of long-term economic growth in Indonesia, 1880-2008’, Explorations in Economic History, Vol. 47 (3) 2010, pp. 294-309.
    • Jan Luiten van Zanden (2009),  “Credit and the Colonial State: The reform of capital markets on Java, 1900-1930”, in: D. Henley & P. Boomgaard (Eds.), Credit and Debt in Indonesia, 860-1930: From Peonage to Pawnshop, from Kongsi to Cooperative (pp. 160-177). Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
    • Bas van Leeuwen and Péter Földvári, ‘Human Capital and Economic Growth in Asia 1890-2000: a time-series analysis’, Asian Economic Journal, Vol. 22 (3) 2008, 225-240.
    • Jan Luiten van Zanden, ‘On the efficiency of markets for agricultural products. Rice prices and capital markets in 19th century Java’, Journal of economic history, Vol. 64 (4) 2004, 1028-1055.
    • Jan Luiten van Zanden, 'Rich and Poor before the Industrial Revolution: a comparison between Java and the Netherlands at the beginning of the 19th century', Explorations in Economic History, Vol. 40 2003, 1-23.
    • Jan Luiten van Zanden, 'Economic growth in Java 1815-1939. The reconstruction of the historical national accounts of a colonial economy', 2002.
  • An Economic History of Indonesia, 1800 - 2010Books: 

Zanden, J.L. van and Marks, D. (2012). An Economic History of Indonesia 1800-2010. London: Routledge.  

Ekonomi Indonesia 1800-2010: Antara Drama dan Keajaiban PertumbuhanZanden, J.L. van and Marks, D. (2012). Ekonomi Indonesia 1800-2010: Antara Drama dan Keajaiban Pertumbuhan. Jakarta: Kompas, this publication is available in PDF.

Related projects:

  • The IISH Historical Prices and Wages project, Indonesia.