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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," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 56838, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:56838
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephen Broadberry & Hanhui Guan & David Daokui Li, 2017. "China, Europe and the Great Divergence: A Study in Historical National Accounting, 980-1850," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _155, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    2. Theodoridis, Dimitrios, 2017. "The ecological footprint of early-modern commodities Coefficients of land use per unit of product," Göteborg Papers in Economic History 21, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economic History.
    3. Broadberry, Stephen, 2013. "Accounting for the great divergence," Economic History Working Papers 54573, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    4. Broadberry,Stephen; Ghosal, Sayantan; Proto, Eugenio, 2011. "Is Anonymity the Missing Link Between Commercial and Industrial Revolution?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 54, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    5. Ken Tabata, 2013. "The Expansion of the Commercial Sector and the Child Quantity-Quality Transition in a Malthusian World," Discussion Paper Series 105, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised May 2013.
    6. Rishabh Kumar, 2018. "Poor country, rich history, many lessons: The evolution of wealth-income ratios in India 1860-2012," Working Papers 1802, New School for Social Research, Department of Economics.
    7. Broadberry, Stephen & Ghosal, Sayantan & Proto, Eugenio, 2017. "Anonymity, efficiency wages and technological progress," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 379-394.
    8. BASSINO, Jean-Pascal & ENG, Pierre van der, 2016. "Asia's 'Little Divergence' in the 20th Century: Evidence from PPP-based direct estimates of GDP per capita, 1913-1969," Discussion paper series HIAS-E-28, Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study, Hitotsubashi University.
    9. Stephen Broadberry & Bruce Campbell & Alexander Klein & Mark Overton & Bas van Leeuwen, 2012. "British Economic Growth, 1270-1870: an output-based approach," Studies in Economics 1203, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    10. Morten Jerven, 2014. "A West African experiment: constructing a GDP series for colonial Ghana, 1891–1950," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(4), pages 964-992, November.
    11. Bassino, Jean-Pascal & Broadberry, Stephen & Fukao, Kyoji & Gupta, Bishnupriya & Takashima, Masanori, 2017. "Japan and the Great Divergence, 730-1874," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 325, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    12. Swee, Eik Leong & Panza, Laura, 2016. "Good geography, good institutions? Historical evidence from nineteenth-century British colonies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 264-283.

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    Keywords

    Britain; comparison; Indian GDP;

    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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