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Accounting for the Great Divergence: Recent Findings from Historical National Accounting

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  • Broadberry, Stephen N

Abstract

As a result of recent work on historical national accounting, it is now possible to establish more firmly the timing of the Great Divergence of living standards between Europe and Asia in the eighteenth century. There was a European Little Divergence as Britain and the Netherlands overtook Italy and Spain, and an Asian Little Divergence as Japan overtook China and India. The Great Divergence occurred because Japan grew more slowly than Britain and the Netherlands starting from a lower level, and because of a strong negative growth trend in Qing dynasty China. A growth accounting framework is used to assess the contributions of labour, human and physical capital, land and total factor productivity. In addition to these proximate sources, the roles of institutions and geography are examined as the ultimate sources of the divergent growth patterns.

Suggested Citation

  • Broadberry, Stephen N, 2021. "Accounting for the Great Divergence: Recent Findings from Historical National Accounting," CEPR Discussion Papers 15936, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:15936
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    explanation; Great Divergence; living standards; Measurement;
    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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