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India and the great divergence: An Anglo-Indian comparison of GDP per capita, 1600–1871

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  • Broadberry, Stephen
  • Custodis, Johann
  • Gupta, Bishnupriya

Abstract

Estimates of Indian GDP are constructed from the output side for 1600–1871, and combined with population data. Indian per capita GDP declined steadily during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries before stabilising during the nineteenth century. As British growth increased from the mid-seventeenth century, India fell increasingly behind. Whereas in 1600, Indian per capita GDP was over 60% of the British level, by 1871 it had fallen to less than 15%. These estimates place the origins of the Great Divergence firmly in the early modern period, but also suggest a relatively prosperous India at the height of the Mughal Empire. They also suggest a period of “strong” deindustrialisation during the first three decades of the nineteenth century, with a small decline of industrial output rather than just a declining share of industry in economic activity.

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  • Broadberry, Stephen & Custodis, Johann & Gupta, Bishnupriya, 2015. "India and the great divergence: An Anglo-Indian comparison of GDP per capita, 1600–1871," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 58-75.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:55:y:2015:i:c:p:58-75
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2014.04.003
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Indian GDP; Comparison; Britain;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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