Известия на ЦСИИ / Proceedings of CEHR, Vol. VII, 2022
LONG-TERM CONSUMER PRICE DYNAMICS IN BULGARIA, 1750 – 2020
Martin IVANOV, Ralitsa SIMEONOVA-GANEVA, Kaloyan GANEV
Available online: 21.11.2022
Abstract: In this paper we explore the long-term developments of consumer prices
in Bulgaria for the period 1750–2020. The discussion draws on a component-based index
of consumer prices constructed by the authors. We consider both nominal price-level
time series and real prices of selected essentials (bread, meat, sugar, tobacco, alcohol,
and construction goods used by households). For the reviewed period, we identify two
major inflationary episodes, namely the two World Wars and the interwar period, and
the period of post-communist transition. For the former, we compute an increase of the
price level of about 46 times. For the latter, we arrive at a mind-blowing analogical result
of over 3800 times. A curious finding concerns the communist period. Contrary to
popular beliefs established through a massive propaganda of no-inflation socialist
economies, we discover an overall increase of the price level for that period of nearly 4
times. Real prices of individual commodities are calculated by deflating nominal figures
by the value of the corresponding base consumer price index. The inspection of their
dynamics leads to uncovering hidden insight related to the developments of specific
markets. Also, it allows to assess more clearly the similarities and differences of real
price evolutions over different political regimes. For example, we find that the real price
of bread in the times of communist rule did not contrast markedly with its levels in
preceding and succeeding periods. Another example points to the conclusion that in the
years of EU membership, the real prices of most commodities that we consider follow a
path of decline. This suggests that statements on the economic developments in those
years which rely heavily on the popular perception of lower affordability should at least
be taken with a grain of salt. The availability of our results could facilitate further
explorations into the nature and specifics of the economic and social development of
Bulgaria over a long period of time.
Key words: inflation, real prices, long-term price dynamics, Ottoman Empire,
World Wars, communism, transition, Bulgaria
JEL: E21, E31, N33, N34, P22
This research was inspired by the many requests we have received over the years
from colleagues and friends to compare prices and “translate” certain amounts of
money, mentioned in historical documents, into present day values. For example, we
have been asked questions like “Was bread cheaper during the communist period
compared to the years before World War II and the transition years?” or “What is the
present value of Evlogi Georgiev’s donation to the Sofia University at the end of
nineteenth century?” Given the recent inflationary developments, questions concerning
price comparisons over time tend to become more pressing.
Answering such questions requires the availability of a long-term price index
linking the different historical periods in Bulgaria with the modern-day CPI
introduced in the early 1990s. Constructing a historical CPI is a lengthy and particularly
laborious process of data mining through the archives. For this reason, such studies are
extremely rare in international scholarly literature. In a recent working paper, we have
suggested the compilation of a unified index of consumer prices (Ivanov, Simeonova-
Ganeva and Ganev, 2022). That index merges our newly computed component-based
index, presented here, with a composite index of all price indices produced by the
Bulgarian statistical authorities throughout the years.
In our work we drew on the handful of existing historical CPI reconstructions such
as O’Donoghue et al. (2004) for the U.K., Officer et al. (2006) for the U.S., Edvinsson
and Söderberg (2010, 2011) for Sweden, Klovland (2014) for Norway, Radu (2019) for
Denmark, as well as Pamuk (2000) and Özmucur and Pamuk (2002) for the Ottoman
For the compilation of the component-based index we utilized records from nearly
500 commercial account books kept in local archives, museums and libraries, available
official market prices of goods and services, and existing surveys of households’
consumption. The consumer basket consists of roughly twenty items
that are largely
representative of the consumption patterns of Bulgarians until the end of World War II.
The Laspeyres formula was applied to produce the index numbers. The latter provides
compatibility with modern-time price index methodologies.
Three main challenges encountered in compiling the index should be mentioned.
First, the relatively wide range of coins of various currencies in which the prices were
Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures change over time in the general level of prices of
goods and services that a reference population acquires, uses, or pays, for consumption
The consumption basket includes bread, rice, beans, meat, olive/sunflower oil, cheese and
butter, onion, apples/grapes, sugar, salt, wine and rakiya, tobacco/cigarettes, aba/shayak/calico,
candles/lamp gas/brown coal, lime/cement, cart/railway transport, soap, barley.
expressed in original sources. Second, the wide range of pre-modern, non-metric
measures used throughout the present-day Bulgarian territory until early 1880s. Third,
the missing price and weight observations for certain years/periods (not only for the
eighteenth and the early nineteenth century but occasionally for some communist and
early transition years as well). We were able to tackle the first two issues with the
assistance of two specially constructed exchange rate and antiquated-measures datasets
that we compiled for the purpose. Using sophisticated techniques like cubic splines for
time-series interpolation (Fritsch and Carlson, 1980) and log-log regressions for
statistically significant correlations with Istanbul prices (Pamuk, 2000), we were able
to bridge all data gaps
. Our new annual component-based index covers the period
1750–2020 and allows the computation and the subsequent analysis of nominal and
developments in the long run. In particular, it provides a solid foundation
for comparison of values over different political and economic regimes of Bulgaria.
In the remainder of this paper, our main objective is to describe and discuss price
dynamics in Bulgaria from the mid-eighteenth century until present. We focus on the
dynamics of real prices of six key commodities computed using the component-based
index, namely bread, sugar, meat, tobacco, alcohol, and construction goods used by
households. The following sub-periods are identified and then compared in terms of
price developments: pre-industrialization, early industrialization, wartimes (Balkan
Wars, World War I, World War II) and the corresponding interwar periods, communist
regime, transition, and EU membership.
The paper is structured as follows. In the next section, we discuss the long-term
price dynamics in Bulgaria for the period 1750–2020. There we also track in parallel
GDP dynamics over the period 1887–2020. After that, we present empirical results and
comment on the real prices of the selected commodities. Finally, we describe our main
findings in the concluding section.
Long-term price dynamics in Bulgaria
Bulgarian lands had been under Ottoman rule from the late fourteenth century
until the late nineteenth century. In the beginning of the eighteenth century, the
Ottoman Empire was already a declining power in political and in economic terms.
Laying in the periphery of the Ottoman world, Bulgarian lands were in an even more
deprived state, especially compared to Istanbul and other key commercial hubs like
Izmir or Salonika. Landlocked, far from the main international trading routes, with
notoriously poor roads in their interior, until the early 1840s Bulgarian lands enjoyed
For more details on the sources, methods, and computations cf. Ivanov, Simeonova-Ganeva
and Ganev, 2022.
Real prices are nominal prices adjusted for inflation.
relatively stable prices. With the exception of sporadic events (e.g., wars, uprisings, or
natural disasters), those dynamics implied price stability, with only low-to-moderate
fluctuations (see Fig. 1). The data on this period suggest that there was a large degree
of market fragmentation (in fact, markets were restricted to small local areas). Such a
hypothesis is corroborated by the fact that even in neighbouring areas there were
different measurement units
. In particular, this could explain the absence of significant
influences on behalf of price volatility observed in the core parts of the empire
The more pronounced shifts in the price level in the second half of the nineteenth
century can be explained by the growing integration of Bulgarian lands within the
international economy. The price liberalization of the early 1840s, the abolition of all
export bans (particularly of grains), and the centralized efforts for improvement of the
inland communication network (roads and later railway construction) brought
increased market integration and hence, higher price volatility
. Over the period 1840–
1878, the price level doubled by a factor of 2.18.
The next period (1878–1945) that included the Balkan Wars and the two World Wars
of the first half of the twentieth century was featured by strong inflationary price dynamics.
On the one hand, they were driven by the 1910s and 1930s ‘mini spurts’ of the Bulgarian
, and its further integration in the European markets for goods. On the other,
wartime economic dynamics associated with the destruction of capital, disruptions of trade
and production chains, reorientation of output for war purposes, and higher indebtedness
of governments, among others, led to severe price hikes and substantial changes in relative
prices. Overall, for the period 1914–1944 the accumulated increase in the price level in
Bulgaria according to our component-based index exceeded 46 times (while that for the
period 1878–1914 it was roughly 1.17 times). This cumulative rate of increase of the price
level, though impressive, is far lower than the ones observed in some hyperinflationary
countries such as Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Poland, but still substantially higher
than the rest of industrialized Europe
. The explanation of the Bulgarian figure can be
sought in the relative economic backwardness of the country, in its foreign trade
orientation (while still not so well integrated in international trade) at that time, and its
statute of a defeated country after World War I, overburdened with heavy reparations.
The most stunning example is of Karlovo and Plovdiv that lie only 50 kilometres from each
other. Yet, the grain kile in both towns differed by nearly 6,5 kg. NBKM-BIA, Col. 25, a. e.
85, pp. 171–172.
For example, Pamuk, 2000 provides ample evidence on considerable volatility of consumer
prices for Istanbul.
For the Ottoman Empire and its increased integration into the world economy cf. Pamuk,
1986. For the identical process within Bulgarian lands of the empire, cf. Ivanov, 2021.
Lampe, 1975 for the 1910s ‘mini-spurt’ and Ivanov, 2012 for the 1930s.
See for example Lopez and Mitchener, 2018.
Figure 1. Annual price dynamics
(chain component-based consumer price index), previous year = 100
Source: Own calculations
The inflationary momentum of World War II continued until the middle of the
1950s, with a tendency of acceleration. The main causes of those developments were
rooted in the adverse effects of the war on the economy of Bulgaria, the ensuing
disruption of production and markets for goods, services, and labour (incl. due to
nationalization and the ideological bias of the communist regime), emerging scarcities,
and the flourishing black markets. Negative influences also followed from the de facto
statute of a defeated country, the enormous post-war expenses most notably related to the
imposed support of a huge Soviet army on the territory of Bulgaria for more than two
years, etc. (Znepolski et al., 2019, pp. 106–125). Post-World-War-II price dynamics bear
the mark of three monetary reforms. The first communist monetary reform of 1947
seemed to provide evidence on two types of phenomena. On the one hand, the
government aimed at seizing the assets of the “defeated bourgeois classes”. On the other,
the parameters of the reform indicated the presence of raging inflation as bank notes of
much higher face value than the ones that were previously in circulation were issued. The
1952 reform was primarily tailored for harnessing inflationary pressures, although
seizure of population assets by the government also transpired from the background: in
essence, the reform consisted in replacing currency units at an unfavourable rate. In such
a way, the money stock was reduced substantially, and the purchasing power of the
population, especially the wealthier part of it, was significantly diminished. At the same
time, central administration of the prices of most essentials was launched. Those prices
were set at levels that implied a higher degree of affordability for the masses. This is
observed clearly in the declining trend of the component-based index (deflation) in the
beginning of the 1950s (Fig. 2). Keeping prices stable seems to have been a major goal
of the communist regime, as otherwise high inflation would have undermined the
confidence of the population in the ruling elite.
Figure 2. Price dynamics
(component-based consumer price index, 1887=100) and GDP (in 1990 $)
Source: Own calculations (GDP is based on Ivanov, 2012 and Maddison Project
Some price stability, however, was possible to maintain only for less than a decade.
At the end of the 1950s, inflationary processes, although not as severe as these of the
immediate post-war era, started looming again. The 1962 monetary reform seemed to be
of pure anti-inflationary nature: notes and coins, as well as prices were replaced at the
same ratio of 10:1. The intended effect was a psychological one, i.e., to tame inflationary
expectations. However, its success was questionable as prices continued crawling
upwards. A relative peak of the price level was reached at the end of the 1960s. While
the early 1970s featured some stabilization of prices, the world oil crisis at the end of
1973 caused new rises of the price level. The negative price developments were matched
by the notorious decay of the economic growth rate of Eastern Bloc countries, less
pronounced in Bulgaria. The drastically reduced investment rates combined with the
effects of the second oil shock of 1979 exacerbated further the unfavourable price
developments (Znepolski, 2019, pp. 252–280). The 1980s witnessed a continuing,
although slightly subdued, upward trend of the price level, despite the implemented
controls and the officially proclaimed price stability. Overall, the communist period
1944–1989 accounted for approximately 3.8 times increase in the price level, twice as
much as in the 1878–1914 period, which included the Balkan Wars.
Notwithstanding the limited effectiveness of price controls (focused mainly on
essentials), it severely diminished the information function of prices, introducing huge
distortions in relative prices. All this implied the presence of accumulated enormous
inflationary pressures. The price liberalization of the beginning of the 1990s unleashed
those so far hidden inflationary pressures and led to significant price level hikes. Our
component-based index points to an annual increase of the price level by 206.7 percent
. The adopted policy of floating exchange rates of the Bulgarian lev, the weak
forex controls, and the poor conduct of monetary policy and banking regulation further
aggravated the inflationary environment. The macroeconomic policy misconduct
intensified in the mid-1990s by the allowance of large-scale soft budget constraints for
government enterprises and uncontrolled expansion of unsecured bank loans. In 1996,
the inflation rate accelerated alongside with a quickly depreciating national currency,
and in 1997 the largest inflationary shock ever experienced by the Bulgarian economy
was registered. According to our component-based index, the inflation rate in that year
totalled 592.8 percent
. Although the number stands for the whole year, the increase
was concentrated largely in first two months of 1997.
The change of government immediately after this hyperinflation episode and the
announced introduction of a currency board arrangement that included pegging the
Bulgarian lev to the Deutschemark quickly harnessed the rise of the price level. In the
following years, the annual inflation rates computed using the component-based index
did not exceed 30 percent
. In 1999, the national currency was denominated at the ratio
of 1000:1 to address the extremely high price levels reached and to lower inflationary
expectations. Besides the enormously lowered forex uncertainty, the ensuing
disinflation was also determined by the process of large-scale privatization, the rapid
development of the private sector and competitive markets, the opening of international
trade towards the European Union, and the resulting economic growth.
The pre-accession period and the years of EU membership
as a rule indicate the
presence of positive inflation rate differentials vis-à-vis the Eurozone. Those were
determined by the fact that the starting price level in Bulgaria was much lower that the
EU average. The growing openness of the Bulgarian economy to the EU markets led
to price level convergence. Still, the speed of this type of convergence has been
moderate-to-low throughout the years, leaving a price level gap to be still filled.
According to our component-based index, the overall price level increase for the
entire post-communist period 1990–2020 totals more than 3800 times (!)
(Fig. 3). Such
This result understates the official NSI figure which equals 473.7 percent. Still, our small
consumer basket manages to capture at least partially the unprecedented price hike in that
The official NSI figure is quite close to our estimate equalling 547.7 percent.
Official figures are all below 20 percent annually.
Bulgaria became a fully-fledged EU Member State on January 1, 2007.
The corresponding figure based on officially published indices is even larger: over 5100 times.
huge nominal price increases combined with currency denomination blur significantly
the assessment of the dynamics of the value of consumer goods and services. In
particular, it makes it very difficult to compare those values across different political
epochs. In order to eliminate this obfuscation caused by erratic price level hikes for
prolonged periods of time, we resort to the calculation of the so-called real prices.
Figure 3. Change in price level in the post-communist years, 1989 = 1
Source: Own calculations (based on the authors’ component-based index).
Real prices of selected commodities
We consider the real prices of six key commodities (bread, meat, sugar, alcohol,
tobacco, and construction goods used by households) that are highly representative of
household consumption patterns that prevailed during the entire period in review
(1750–2020). They constitute roughly 40 percent of the consumption basket in 1848,
45 percent ca. 1900, and about 40 percent in the 1960s and about 30 percent 2020. Each
of them has their own specifics of price development which allows to explore a
considerable range of price variation patterns.
To this day, bread has been the staple food of Bulgarians. Therefore, the
population has always been extremely sensitive to changes in its price. Logically,
governments have almost always paid special attention to it, and has accordingly
accommodated their policy actions to prevent significant price hikes. This is reflected
in considerable stability of the real price of bread over the long run, with prevailing
modest fluctuations in the narrow corridor of 0.2 – 0.4 constant 1750 leva (Fig. 4)
Another major factor that however contributed to this real price stability is associated
with the fact that with very few exceptions, Bulgaria has been producing surpluses of
grain that started being exported in modern times.
Two sizable hikes are observed in the end of the eighteenth century: first, when
centralized Ottoman state control over Bulgarian lands almost vanished, and second, at
the end and in the immediate aftermath of World War II when the obsolete ‘bourgeois’
economic regime collapsed.
Driven by political considerations, during most of the communist period real bread
price was kept impressively stable at a very low level. Due to an overall quicker increase
in the overall price level, there was even a mild but steadily declining trend throughout the
entire communist period. Two determinants played a crucial role thereto. The first one was
related to the strict administrative controls of central planning concerning key commodities.
The second is associated with the pronouncedly boosted productivity in agriculture. To
illustrate those observations, note that in 1944 the real price of bread equalled 0.68 leva,
while in 1989 it reached its lowest of 0.24 leva (both in 1750 constant prices).
The fall of the Berlin wall brought some abrupt hikes followed by increased
volatility in the real price of bread. Still, the latter remained in the above-mentioned
corridor. Low and stable real prices of bread were observed once more in the post-EU-
accession years (specifically after 2010) when, contrary to the popular beliefs, the real
price of bread reached levels of roughly 0.18-0.20 constant 1750 leva which stand
below those observed for the communist decades.
Figure 4. Bread price, per kilogram, constant 1750 leva
Source: Own calculations
We use the expression “constant 1750 leva” to indicate deflated magnitudes. The usage of the
name of the currency is only conditional for the period until 1879 when it was formally
Unlike bread, until recently, sugar has been a luxury good, less affordable for
many Bulgarians. For that reason, the real price of sugar can be seen as broadly
representative of the gradual improvement of their standard of living.
In 1750, the real price of sugar equalled approximately 2.4 leva (Fig. 5). In the
following decades of the late eighteenth and the early nineteenth centuries, sugar was
the commodity that was affected the most by the deep political and economic crisis
experienced by the Ottoman Empire. The real price skyrocketed, reaching its peak of
9.4 constant 1750 leva in 1816. By ca. 1820, it returned to its pre-crisis levels, and then
followed a steady decline until present. This downward trend was only briefly
interrupted by wars (particularly World War I and World War II), and by outbursts of
galloping inflation in the transition period. In the beginning of the communist period
(1944), the real price of sugar equalled 0.87 constant 1750 leva, while at its end (1989)
it diminished slightly to 0.73. From the mid-1990s onwards, it has been declining again,
reaching record-low levels. In 2018, the lowest ever value of the real price of sugar of
just 0.16 constant 1750 leva was reached.
Figure 5. Sugar price, per kilogram, constant 1750 leva
Source: Own calculations
In the traditional Bulgarian society, meat was a festive food consumed mainly on
special occasions. Demand was low and seasonal (lamb for St. George and Easter, pork
for Christmas, fish for St. Nicolas, or chicken for St. Peter), and animal farming was
mostly subsistent. This could explain both the relative cheapness and the stability of its
In 1750, the real meat price per kilo was 0.23 leva (Fig. 6). After that, in the late
eighteenth and in almost the entire nineteenth centuries, it featured somewhat higher
volatility, but it did not exceed 1.20 constant 1750 leva. For example, during the
Liberation War (1878), the real price of meat equalled 0.94 constant 1750 leva. Since ca.
1886, it has followed a stable positive trend, suggesting a slow but stable improvement
in the standard of living. Considerable peaks are seen in the last years of World War II,
and in the 1980s. In particular, in 1944, the real price of meat climbed to 2.66 constant
1750 leva. In 1986, it almost doubled to 4.76 constant 1750 leva. Overall, with the
exception of the temporal success in lowering the real price of meat in the post-World-
War-II decade, central planning failed to stabilize it. The latter reflects the growing
shortages of meat supply and the falling capacity of the communist regime to meet the
demand. In the mid-1990s, another brief hike in the real price of meat was observed (the
highest value of 4.33 constant 1750 leva was attained in 1997). Similarly to the cases of
bread and other foods, however, the EU accession of Bulgaria strengthened supply and
pushed real prices well below their pre-1989 levels. Throughout the whole period 2007–
2020, it remained in the range of 1.54 – 2.21 constant 1750 leva.
Figure 6. Meat price, per kilogram, constant 1750 leva
Source: Own calculations
Tobacco and Alcohol
Similarly to meat, goods like tobacco and alcohol followed a long period of
relatively low and stable prices. They started to pick up only ca. 1900 (Fig. 7, Fig. 8).
The upward trend observable in the early twentieth century most probably reflects the
relative improvement in the overall standard of living and the associated growing
demand of (semi-) luxury goods. It is worth mentioning that the basic varieties of both
commodities were (and to some extend still are) domestically produced (home
distillation of rakiya or tobacco growing).
The shortages of World War II, and the post-war austerity in the first years of the
communist regime led to considerable peaks in the real prices of alcohol and tobacco.
By the mid-1960s, however, under the controls of central planning, they started falling,
reaching their pre-World-War-II levels during 1980s.
This downward trend continued after the fall of the Berlin wall, and in 2020, the
real prices of alcohol (rakiya and wine) equalled those recorded in 1893 and 1916. Due
to the alignment of excise tax rates in Bulgaria to the minimum EU levels and the
abolishment of tobacco-growing subsidies, from 1998 onwards prices of cigarettes
have reversed their downward trend, reaching unprecedentedly high levels in 2020.
Figure 7. Tobacco prices, per kilogram, constant 1750 leva
Source: Own calculations
Figure 8. Alcohol prices, per litre, constant 1750 leva
Source: Own calculations
The real price of construction goods
used by households is the best available
proxy for the historical developments of real estate value over the last 270 years.
Broadly speaking, in 1750–2020, the development of that real price suggests the
presence of cyclicality of roughly fifty-year periods. In total, five-and-a-half cycles can
be identified, with peaks during the 1770s, the 1820s, the 1860–1870s, the 1910–1920s,
and the 1960–1970s, and troughs during the 1750s, the 1790s, the 1850s, the 1880s, the
1940s, and the 1990–2000s (Fig. 9). Although the data limitations do not allow a
detailed cycle analysis, it is worth noting that that most of these cycles coincide with
exogenous events like the Russo-Turkish Wars (1768–74, 1928–29), the Crimean War
(1853–56) and the two World Wars.
Over the entire period, the two instance in which construction goods seemed to be
most unaffordable were the beginnings of the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. In
the years of communism, and in particular after the beginning of the 1950s, a downward
trend in the real price of those goods can be identified. Still, their overall values are
more or less in line with the prices observed before World War II. It worth also pointing
out that, contrary to the public beliefs, EU accession brought a decline, rather than an
increase in the real prices of construction goods.
Figure 9. Construction goods price, per tonne, constant 1750 leva
Source: Own calculations
This paper presents a consistent picture of the long-term price dynamics of a set
of selected consumer goods. Both an overall price level (approximated by computed
Lime, until 1926 and cement from 1927 to the present.
index numbers) and individual real price developments are considered.
Concerning the development of nominal price levels, two major inflationary
episodes in Bulgarian economic history are observed. First, the price hikes of the two
World Wars and the interwar period (1914–1944), and second, the period of post-
communist transition (particularly, the 1990s). In the first episode, galloping inflation
led to an enormous increase in the price level of about 46 times. In the second one, the
intensity of the inflationary processes was immensely higher: for about three decades,
prices increased by more than 3800 times (according to our component-based index)!
This provides an indirect measure of the magnitude of inflationary pressures that
accumulated during the period of central planning and administrative controls over
prices, and which were unleashed in the 1990s.
In this respect, an insightful result appears to be that during the communist regime,
the price level increased almost four times. This finding contradicts the contemporary
propaganda about a no-inflation socialist economy. Still, central planning managed to
control and suppress the prices of certain goods and services, and the overall inflation
for this entire period was lower than the one observed in other countries (for example,
during the same period, 1944–1989, the price level in the U.S. increased by 7.1 times
and that in the U.K. rose by 14.5 times
). Nevertheless, this price suppression came at
a high cost: external indebtedness, shortages, distortion in relative price levels, lagging
behind with price convergence to the Western markets, etc. From a different
perspective, considering the liberalization of markets, and the opening of the economy
towards the West, the scale of the resulting figures suggests the inevitability of the
adverse developments that were observed in the beginning of transition.
Regarding the real prices of individual commodities, an interesting finding is that
there is a well pronounced decline observed for them in the years of EU membership –
contrary to the popular beliefs of real price movements closely matching nominal price
increases. This finding is fully in line with the development of markets and competition
during the last three decades and supports the claim of increased affordability of key
Our discussion of real price fluctuations suggests that they reflect political
decisions, market developments, and exogenous influences throughout the reviewed
span of Bulgarian economic history. The availability of our results makes it possible to
further explore and deepen the existing knowledge on the economic and historical
phenomena of those times.
See the online CPI calculator based on the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics here:
See the Bank of England online inflation calculator here: https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/
In the introduction of the paper, we raised two curious questions, the answers of
which could be a small step in this direction. The first question related to whether bread
was cheaper during communism compared to the preceding and the succeeding
decades. The answer is simply “no”. In the best possible instance, the real price of bread
was at par with the levels in those two other periods. The second question concerns the
present value of one of the largest private donations to higher education in Bulgaria
made over a century ago by Evlogi Georgiev (for the establishment of the present-day
Sofia University). Based on the fact that the Court estimated the value of that donation
at 13 million 1911 leva, using our calculated price index, we arrive at a present value
of 602 million 2020 BGN.
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Martin Ivanov – Associate Professor, D.Sc.
Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, Department of Sociology
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