Asian Historical Statistics Project ( AHSTAT-COE Project )

Vietnam 1895-1954 Research Group( VN98-1 )

Estimating long term economic statistics of Vietnam under French rule(1895-1954); on sources and methods *

Jean-Pascal Bassino and Jean-Dominique Giacometti

Paul Valéry University( France )

May 1998


      This paper proposes a survey of sources and works on Vietnam's historical statistics available in the different specialised libraries and archives, mainly in Vietnam and France, and investigates methods to be implemented for estimating Vietnam's national accounts under French rule ( 1895-1954 ). While most of the sources on the period are related to former French Indochina, our aim is to produce time series corresponding to present day Vietnam. This task constitutes a first step toward a quantitative appraisal of Vietnam's economic dynamics from the middle of the nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century. Due to the weakness of the French administration, especially in Annam and Tonkin, few data were collected before 1893. For this reason, we will not consider here the first colonial period, French military occupation and administration of Cochinchina and further invasion of Annam and Tonkin.


      * An earlier and shorter version of this discussion paper was published in the Newsletter of the Asian Historical Statistics Project ( October 1997 ). We are indebted to Kyoji Fukao, Charles Mac Donald, Jacques Marseille, Konosuke Odaka, Pham Gia Ben, Osamu Saito and Trinh Van Tho for their comments and suggestions, and to Erica Peters, Charles Weathers and Sean Cassidy for editorial assistance. All remaining errors and omissions are ours. Financial research support by the AHSTAT COE Project and also, at an earlier stage, by the Paul Valer University Research Found and The French Ministry for the Foreign Affairs is gratefully acknowledged.