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What is the earliest mention of any type of macroeconomic measure?

I know proto-economist William Petty coined the Term GDP but was there any other measurement used before then to determine the welfare of an economy?

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  • $\begingroup$ I should underscore that GDP is a measure of output, not welfare. $\endgroup$ – dismalscience Oct 24 '16 at 20:01
  • $\begingroup$ "Statistic" (or "Statistik") in the sense of data about a state, was possibly first used by Gottfried Aschenwall in 1748 in his Vorbereitung zur Staatswissenschaft $\endgroup$ – Henry Oct 24 '16 at 20:21
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Maybe the earliest economic quantities to be measured are the number of people in a tribe or nation as a measure of economic and military potential. Roman (Roman king Servius Tullius) and ancient Israeli censuses (Prophet Moses duing the Egyptian Exodus) were said to have been conducted in the 6th and 13th centuries before the common era (Wikipedia -- Census).

William Petty's (mercantilist, 1623-1687) political arithmetic is often considered the first work related to economic measurement and econometrics and crudely and innovatively estimated the population, national income and national wealth for Ireland and England. François Quesnay (physiocract) is often regarded as his fellow pioneer and his Tableau Economique (1759), is often considered a forerunner of the modern national income and product accounts (Hillinger (2007)).

For more precise economic estimates, measures of national production of pig iron goes back in the USA and the UK at least as far as 1870.

Productivity Change in British Pig Iron, 1870-1939 Donald N. McCloskey The Quarterly Journal of Economics Vol. 82, No. 2 (May, 1968), pp. 281-296

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