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The Assessment: The Twentieth Century--Achievements, Failures, Lessons

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  • Boltho, Andrea
  • Toniolo, Gianni

Abstract

The past century saw unprecedented rises in life expectancy and living standards. It also witnessed major structural changes, the rise of "big government" and two globalizations. Yet, the century's economic history was marred by policy and market failures resulting in a massive world-wide depression, frequent financial crises (particularly in the developing world), and several inflation spurts. Central planning set back development for one-third of the world's population; transition to the market economy was at best slow, in some instances disastrous. Income distribution within countries changed little, while productivity convergence between rich and poor economies was virtually absent. Policy-making learnt some lessons from the 1930s experience, particularly in the areas of macroeconomic management, international cooperation, and free trade. Dogmatic recipes, however, were often resorted to at home, aided and abetted by the pretensions of the economics profession. Copyright 1999 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Boltho, Andrea & Toniolo, Gianni, 1999. "The Assessment: The Twentieth Century--Achievements, Failures, Lessons," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(4), pages 1-17, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:15:y:1999:i:4:p:1-17
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    Cited by:

    1. Branko Milanovic, 2005. "Global Income Inequality: What It Is And Why It Matters?," HEW 0512001, EconWPA.
    2. Kollenberg, Sascha & Taschini, Luca, 2016. "Emissions trading systems with cap adjustments," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 20-36.
    3. Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2002. "Globalization and Inequality: Historical Trends," Aussenwirtschaft, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science, Swiss Institute for International Economics and Applied Economics Research, vol. 57(01), pages 65-104, March.
    4. Svedberg, Peter, 2003. "World Income Distribution: Which Way?," Seminar Papers 724, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
    5. Peter H. Lindert & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2003. "Does Globalization Make the World More Unequal?," NBER Chapters,in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 227-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. John A. List & Haiwen Zhou, 2007. "Internal Increasing Returns to Scale and Economic Growth," NBER Technical Working Papers 0336, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Frances Stewart (QEH), "undated". "Do we need a new 'Great Transformation'? Is one likely?," QEH Working Papers qehwps136, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
    8. Bigsten , Arne & Levin, Jörgen, 2000. "Growth, Income Distribution, and Poverty: A Review," Working Papers in Economics 32, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    9. Niño-Zarazúa, Miguel & Roope, Laurence & Tarp, Finn, 2014. "Global interpersonal inequality Trends and measurement," MPRA Paper 52881, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Moritz Drupp & Mark Freeman & Ben Groom & Frikk Nesje, 2015. "Discounting disentangled: an expert survey on the determinants of the long-term social discount rate," GRI Working Papers 196a, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    11. Svedberg, Peter, 2002. "Income Distribution Across Countries: How is it Measured and What Do the Results Show?," Seminar Papers 698, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
    12. Thomas Goda, 2013. "Changes in income inequality from a global perspective: An overview," Working Papers PKWP1303, Post Keynesian Economics Study Group (PKSG).
    13. Hillebrand, Evan, 2008. "The Global Distribution of Income in 2050," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 727-740, May.
    14. Crafts, Nicholas, 2004. "The world economy in the 1990s: a long run perspective," Economic History Working Papers 22334, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    15. Mark Rogers, 2003. "A Survey of Economic Growth," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 79(244), pages 112-135, March.

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