IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Technology and the great divergence: Global economic development since 1820

  • Allen, Robert C.

The paper measures productivity growth in seventeen countries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. GDP per worker and capital per worker in 1985 US dollars were estimated for 1820, 1850, 1880, 1913, and 1939 by using historical national accounts to back cast Penn World Table data for 1965 and 1990. Frontier and econometric production functions are used to measure neutral technical change and local technical change. The latter includes concurrent increases in capital per worker and output per worker beyond the highest values achieved. These increases were pioneered by the rich countries of the day. An increase in the capital-labor ratio was usually followed by a half century in which rich countries raised output per worker at that higher ratio. Then the rich countries moved on to a higher capital-ratio, and technical progress ceased at the lower ratio they abandoned. Most of the benefits of technical progress accrued to the rich countries that pioneered it. It is remarkable that countries in 1990 with low capital labor ratios achieved an output per worker that was no higher than countries with the same capital labor ratio in 1820. In the course of the last two hundred years, the rich countries created the production function of the world that defines the growth possibilities of poor countries today.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014498311000416
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Explorations in Economic History.

Volume (Year): 49 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 1-16

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:49:y:2012:i:1:p:1-16
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622830

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Hulten, Charles R, 1973. "Divisia Index Numbers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(6), pages 1017-25, November.
  2. McCloskey, Donald N. & Sandberg, Lars G., 1971. "From damnation to redemption: Judgments on the late victorian entrepreneur," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 89-108.
  3. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521810203 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Allen, Robert C. & Bassino, Jean-Pascal & Ma, Debin & Moll-Murata, Christine & Zanden, Jan Luiten van, 2009. "Wages, prices, and living standards in China, 1738-1925: in comparison with Europe, Japan, and India," CEI Working Paper Series 2009-03, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  5. Daron Acemoglu, 2001. "Directed Technical Change," NBER Working Papers 8287, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Acemoglu, D. & Zilibotti, F., 1998. "Productivity Differences," Papers 660, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  7. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  8. David N. Weil, 1996. "Appropriate Technology and Growth," Working Papers 96-24, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  9. Robert E. Gallman, 1992. "American Economic Growth before the Civil War: The Testimony of the Capital Stock Estimates," NBER Chapters, in: American Economic Growth and Standards of Living before the Civil War, pages 79-120 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2000. "The World Technology Frontier," NBER Working Papers 7904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Los, Bart & Timmer, Marcel P., 2005. "The 'appropriate technology' explanation of productivity growth differentials: An empirical approach," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 517-531, August.
  12. Allen, Robert C., 2001. "The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 411-447, October.
  13. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 271-303, 09.
  14. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," MPRA Paper 4134, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. repec:dgr:rugggd:199626 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Daniel J. Henderson & R. Robert Russell, 2005. "Human Capital And Convergence: A Production-Frontier Approach ," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(4), pages 1167-1205, November.
  17. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521687850 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Jerzmanowski, Michal, 2007. "Total factor productivity differences: Appropriate technology vs. efficiency," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(8), pages 2080-2110, November.
  19. Oleg Badunenko & Daniel J. Henderson & Valentin Zelenyuk, 2007. "Technological Change and Transition: Relative Contributions to Worldwide Growth during the 1990s," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 740, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  20. Daron Acemoglu, 2005. "Equilibrium Bias of Technology," NBER Working Papers 11845, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521868273 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Chow, Gregory & Lin, An-loh, 2002. "Accounting for Economic Growth in Taiwan and Mainland China: A Comparative Analysis," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 507-530, September.
  23. Thomas J. Weiss, 1992. "U. S. Labor Force Estimates and Economic Growth, 1800-1860," NBER Chapters, in: American Economic Growth and Standards of Living before the Civil War, pages 19-78 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Subodh Kumar & R. Robert Russell, 2002. "Technological Change, Technological Catch-up, and Capital Deepening: Relative Contributions to Growth and Convergence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 527-548, June.
  25. Allen, Robert C., 1983. "Collective invention," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 1-24, March.
  26. Kenneth L. Sokoloff & Stanley L. Engerman, 2000. "Institutions, Factor Endowments, and Paths of Development in the New World," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 217-232, Summer.
  27. North, Douglass C. & Weingast, Barry R., 1989. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 803-832, December.
  28. repec:dgr:rugccs:200003 is not listed on IDEAS
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:49:y:2012:i:1:p:1-16. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.