IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

GDP and convergence in modern times

  • Emanuele Felice

    (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)

In this chapter I discuss historical estimates of GDP at both the national and the regional level, and their application for assessing economic performance in modern times. Having been invented in (and conceived for) industrial capitalist societies, GDP has stronger informative power in those contexts where industry and services, and market exchange, retain the lion’s share of production. In modern times, when comparing the series available for different countries, there are three major methodological problems to be acknowledged and possibly addressed: the dissimilarity of the quantity series and related proxies; deflation through purchasing power parities distant in time; and the differences in the base year used to construct GDP constant price (Laspeyres) indices (the latter issue may be less widely recognized, but it may have a remarkable impact). The way the estimates are constructed also has a bearing upon the statistical tools and models we should use to interpret them; owing to the lack of reliable long-run series, cross-sectional techniques are often preferable to time series analysis; provided we have reliable estimates, growth accounting - decomposing GDP growth into productivity and industry mix effects - may provide important clues about the choice between theoretical approaches; not least for the quality of our data, cross-country convergence models based on conditioning variables should always be supplemented by historical information from qualitative sources and case studies. More generally, cliometricians should prove themselves capable of adapting their models to different historical contexts and relativizing findings to the limits of their estimates.

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:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC) in its series Working Papers with number 01-14.

in new window

Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:afc:wpaper:01-14
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

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. Stefano Fenoaltea, 1976. "Real Value Added and the Measurement of Industrial Production," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 5, number 1, pages 111-137 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Carlo Ciccarelli & Stefano Fenoaltea & Tommaso Proietti, 2008. "The Effects of Unification: Markets, Policy and Cyclical Convergence in Italy, 1861-1913," CEIS Research Paper 133, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 18 Nov 2008.
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:afc:wpaper:01-14. 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: ()

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.