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Indian GDP Before 1870: Some Preliminary Estimates and a Comparison with Britain

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  • Broadberry, Stephen N
  • Gupta, Bishnupriya

Abstract

This paper provides estimates of Indian GDP constructed from the output side for the pre-1871 period, and combines them with population estimates to track changes in living standards. Indian per capita GDP declined steadily between 1600 and 1871. As British living standards increased from the mid-seventeenth century, India fell increasingly behind. Whereas in 1650, Indian per capita GDP was more than 80 per cent of the British level, by 1871 it had fallen to less than 15 per cent. As well as placing the origins of the Great Divergence firmly in the early modern period, the estimates suggest a relatively prosperous India at the height of the Mughal Empire, with living standards well above bare bones subsistence.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8007.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8007

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Keywords: Britain; comparison; Indian GDP;

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References

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  1. Stephen Broadberry & Bishnupriya Gupta, 2009. "Lancashire, India, and shifting competitive advantage in cotton textiles, 1700-1850: the neglected role of factor prices -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 62(2), pages 279-305, 05.
  2. Allen,Robert C., 2009. "The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521687850, April.
  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. Malanima Paolo, 2003. "Measuring the Italian Economy. 1300-1861," Rivista di storia economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 265-296.
  5. Lvarez-Nogal, Carlos & Prados De La Escosura, Leandro, 2007. "The decline of Spain (1500 1850): conjectural estimates," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(03), pages 319-366, December.
  6. Simon Kuznets & Lillian Epstein & Elizabeth Jenks, 1946. "National Product Since 1869," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn46-1, July.
  7. Broadberry, Stephen; Van Leeuwen, Bas, 2010. "British Economic Growth and the Business Cycle, 1700-1870: Annual Estimates," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 20, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  8. Clingingsmith, David & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2008. "Deindustrialization in 18th and 19th century India: Mughal decline, climate shocks and British industrial ascent," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 209-234, July.
  9. N. F. R. Crafts, 1976. "English Economic Growth in the Eighteenth Century: A Re-Examination of Deane and Cole's Estimates," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 29(2), pages 226-235, 05.
  10. repec:cge:warwcg:21 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. N. F. R. Crafts & C. K. Harley, 1992. "Output growth and the British industrial revolution: a restatement of the Crafts-Harley view," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 45(4), pages 703-730, November.
  12. repec:cge:warwcg:20 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Broadberry, Stephen; Campbell, Bruce; Klein, Alexander; Overton, Mark, Van Leeuwen, Bas., 2010. "English Economic Growth, 1270-1700," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 21, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  14. Broadberry, Stephen N & Gupta, Bishnupriya, 2005. "The Early Modern Great Divergence: Wages, Prices and Economic Development in Europe and Asia, 1500-1800," CEPR Discussion Papers 4947, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Cited by:
  1. Tirthankar Roy, 2012. "Consumption Of Cotton Cloth In India, 1795–1940," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 52(1), pages 61-84, 03.

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