Economic growth in the Mid-Atlantic region: Conjectural estimates for 1720 to 1800
We construct decadal estimates of GDP per capita for the colonies and states of the Mid-Atlantic region between 1720 and 1800. They show that the region likely achieved modest improvements in per capita GDP over this period despite a number of demographic factors that tended to slow the pace of growth. Nonetheless the rate of growth we find is below that commonly assumed to have prevailed in eighteenth century North America and calls those estimates into question. The striking feature of the region's economy in the eighteenth century was not the rising living-standard, but its ability to achieve rapid extensive growth without a decline in living standards. To contemporaries this extensive growth and short-term volatility in incomes must have been much more visible than any trend improvement in overall well-being.
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