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Measuring British Decline: Direct Versus Long-Span Income Measures

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  • WARD, MARIANNE
  • DEVEREUX, JOHN
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    Abstract

    We provide 16 purchasing-power-parity-adjusted estimates of U.K. and U.S. income per capita and output per worker between 1872 and 1990 based on new estimates of their price levels. Our income benchmarks depart from current estimates in four crucial respects. The United States, not the United Kingdom, led in income per capita in the 1870s. The United Kingdom kept pace with the United States through the late Victorian era. Most of the United Kingdom s relative decline occurred between 1905 and 1950. Finally, the post-1950 performance of the U.K. economy was stronger than is now estimated.We thank Michael Edelstein for getting us interested in the topic. We are also indebted to two referees for comments on the first draft. Susan Carter, Greg Clark, C. Knick Harley, Alan Heston, Peter Lindert, Robert Lipsey, Luis Locay, Bryan Roberts, Christina Romer, Richard Sylla, Jeffrey Williamson, and the participants in a seminar at the University of California, Riverside gave helpful suggestions. Finally we are especially grateful to Deirdre McCloskey for advice at an early stage.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

    Volume (Year): 63 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 03 (September)
    Pages: 826-851

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    Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:63:y:2003:i:03:p:826-851_54

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    Cited by:
    1. Sun Go & Peter H. Lindert, 2007. "The Curious Dawn of American Public Schools," NBER Working Papers 13335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Klasing, Mariko J. & Milionis, Petros, 2014. "Quantifying the evolution of world trade, 1870–1949," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 185-197.
    3. Broadberry, Stephen & Gupta, Bishnupriya, 2010. "The historical roots of India's service-led development: A sectoral analysis of Anglo-Indian productivity differences, 1870-2000," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 264-278, July.
    4. Larsson, Svante, 2005. "Globalisation, inequality and Swedish catch up in the late nineteenth century. Williamson’s real wage comparisons under scrutiny," Göteborg Papers in Economic History 2, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economic History.
    5. repec:cge:warwcg:61 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Broadberry, Stephen & Giordano, Claire & Zollino, Francesco, 2011. "A Sectoral Analysis of Italy's Development: 1861 -2010," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 62, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    7. Campbell, Douglas L & Pyun, Ju Hyun, 2014. "Through the Looking Glass: A WARPed View of Real Exchange Rate History," MPRA Paper 55870, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Broadberry, Stephen & Gupta, Bishnupriya, 2012. "India And The Great Divergence: An Anglo-Indian Comparison Of Gdp Per Capita, 1600-1871," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 81, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    9. Robert Allen, 2013. "American Exceptionalism as a Problem in Global History," Economics Series Working Papers 689, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    10. Jong, H. de & Woltjer, P., 2009. "A Comparison of Real Output and Productivity for British and American Manufacturing in 1935," GGDC Research Memorandum GD-108, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
    11. Woltjer, P. & Smits, Jan-Pieter & Frankema, Ewout, 2010. "Comparing Productivity in the Netherlands, France, UK and US, ca. 1910:A new PPP benchmark and its implications for changing economic leadership," GGDC Research Memorandum GD-113, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
    12. Ward, Marianne & Devereux, John, 2012. "The Road Not Taken: Pre-Revolutionary Cuban Living Standards in Comparative Perspective," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(01), pages 104-132, March.
    13. Broadberry, Stephen N. & Irwin, Douglas A., 2006. "Labor productivity in the United States and the United Kingdom during the nineteenth century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 257-279, April.

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