IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ehl/wpaper/54573.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Accounting for the great divergence

Author

Listed:
  • Broadberry, Stephen

Abstract

As a result of recent work on historical national accounting, it is now possible to establish firmly the timing of the Great Divergence of living standards between Europe and Asia. There was a European Little Divergence as Britain and Holland 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 Holland, starting from a lower level. Key turning points are identified around 1348 and 1500, and an explanatory framework is developed that can explain these divergences via the differential impact of shocks on differently structured economies. The key shocks were the Black Death of the mid-fourteenth century and the new trade routes which opened up from Europe to Asia and the Americas at the end of the fifteenth century. The key structural factors were the type of agriculture, the age of first marriage of females, the flexibility of labour supply and the nature of state institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Broadberry, Stephen, 2013. "Accounting for the great divergence," Economic History Working Papers 54573, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:54573
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/54573/
    File Function: Open access version.
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Hanley, Susan B., 1983. "A High Standard of Living in Nineteenth-Century Japan: Fact or Fantasy?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(1), pages 183-192, March.
    4. de Vries, Jan, 1994. "The Industrial Revolution and the Industrious Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(2), pages 249-270, June.
    5. Sng, Tuan-Hwee & Moriguchi, Chiaki, 2013. "Taxation and Public Goods Provision in China and Japan before 1850," PRIMCED Discussion Paper Series 35, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    6. Voth, Hans-Joachim, 2001. "The Longest Years: New Estimates Of Labor Input In England, 1760–1830," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(4), pages 1065-1082, December.
    7. Nico Voigtl?nder & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2013. "How the West "Invented" Fertility Restriction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2227-2264, October.
    8. Parthasarathi,Prasannan, 2011. "Why Europe Grew Rich and Asia Did Not," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521168243, November.
    9. Li, Bozhong & van Zanden, Jan Luiten, 2012. "Before the Great Divergence? Comparing the Yangzi Delta and the Netherlands at the Beginning of the Nineteenth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(4), pages 956-989, December.
    10. Joerg Baten & Jan Zanden, 2008. "Book production and the onset of modern economic growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 217-235, September.
    11. Bassino, Jean-Pascal & Broadberry, Stephen & Fukao, Kyoji & Gupta, Bishnupriya & Takashima, Masanori, 2015. "Japan and the Great Divergence, 725-1874," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 230, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    12. Bassino, Jean-Pascal & Broadberry, Stephen & Fukao, Kyoji & Gupta, Bishnupriya & Takashima, Masanori, 2019. "Japan and the great divergence, 730–1874," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 1-22.
    13. Karaman, K. Kivanç & Pamuk, Şevket, 2010. "Ottoman State Finances in European Perspective, 1500–1914," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 593-629, September.
    14. Allen,Robert C., 2009. "The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521868273, November.
    15. Allen, Robert C., 2001. "The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 411-447, October.
    16. Carlos Álvarez-Nogal & Leandro Prados De La Escosura, 2013. "The rise and fall of Spain (1270–1850)," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 66(1), pages 1-37, February.
    17. Roy, Tirthankar, 2010. "Economic Conditions in Early Modern Bengal: A Contribution to the Divergence Debate," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 179-194, March.
    18. Parthasarathi,Prasannan, 2011. "Why Europe Grew Rich and Asia Did Not," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107000308, November.
    19. Broadberry, Stephen & Guan, Hanhui & Li, David, 2017. "China, Europe and the great Divergence: A Study in Historical Natonal Accounting, 980-1850," CEPR Discussion Papers 11972, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    20. Vries,Jan de, 2008. "The Industrious Revolution," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521719254, November.
    21. Șerban Georgescu, 2012. "Japan," Conjunctura economiei mondiale / World Economic Studies, Institute for World Economy, Romanian Academy.
    22. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James Robinson, 2005. "The Rise of Europe: Atlantic Trade, Institutional Change, and Economic Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 546-579, June.
    23. R. C. Allen & J. L. Weisdorf, 2011. "Was there an ‘industrious revolution’ before the industrial revolution? An empirical exercise for England, c. 1300–1830," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 64(3), pages 715-729, August.
    24. Tine De Moor & Jan Luiten Van Zanden, 2010. "Girl power: the European marriage pattern and labour markets in the North Sea region in the late medieval and early modern period1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(1), pages 1-33, February.
    25. Clark, Gregory & Werf, Ysbrand Van Der, 1998. "Work in Progress? The Industrious Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(03), pages 830-843, September.
    26. Vries,Jan de, 2008. "The Industrious Revolution," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521895026, November.
    27. Ian Blanchard, 1978. "Labour Productivity and Work Psychology in the English Mining Industry, 1400-1600," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 31(1), pages 1-24, February.
    28. Malanima, Paolo, 2011. "The long decline of a leading economy: GDP in central and northern Italy, 1300–1913," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(2), pages 169-219, August.
    29. van Zanden, Jan Luiten & van Leeuwen, Bas, 2012. "Persistent but not consistent: The growth of national income in Holland 1347–1807," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 119-130.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Broadberry, Stephen, 2021. "Accounting for the Great Divergence: Recent Findings from Historical National Accounting," CEPR Discussion Papers 15936, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Ho, Chi Pui, 2016. "Industrious Selection: Explaining Five Revolutions and Two Divergences in Eurasian Economic History within a Unified Growth Framework," MPRA Paper 73862, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. 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.
    4. Broadberry, Stephen & Ghosal, Sayantan & Proto, Eugenio, 2017. "Anonymity, efficiency wages and technological progress," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 379-394.
    5. Jane Humphries & Jacob Weisdorf, 2019. "Unreal Wages? Real Income and Economic Growth in England, 1260–1850," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 129(623), pages 2867-2887.
    6. Jutta Bolt & Jan Luiten Zanden, 2014. "The Maddison Project: collaborative research on historical national accounts," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(3), pages 627-651, August.
    7. Bassino, Jean-Pascal & Broadberry, Stephen & Fukao, Kyoji & Gupta, Bishnupriya & Takashima, Masanori, 2019. "Japan and the great divergence, 730–1874," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 1-22.
    8. Weisdorf, Jacob & Rota, Mauro, 2020. "Italy and the Industrial Revolution: Evidence from Stable Employment in Rural Areas," CEPR Discussion Papers 14652, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Rota, Mauro & Weisdorf, Jacob, 2019. "Expensive Labour and the Industrial Revolution: Evidence from Stable Employment in Rural Areas," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 442, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    10. 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.
    11. Philip T. Hoffman, 2020. "The Great Divergence: Why Britain Industrialised First," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 60(2), pages 126-147, July.
    12. Yao Chen & Nuno Palma & Felix Ward, 2022. "Goldilocks: American precious metals and the Rise of the West," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 22-063/VI, Tinbergen Institute, revised 15 Feb 2023.
    13. Broadberry, Stephen & Guan, Hanhui & Li, David, 2017. "China, Europe and the great Divergence: A Study in Historical Natonal Accounting, 980-1850," CEPR Discussion Papers 11972, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Broadberry, Stephen & Ghosal, Sayantan & Proto, Eugenio, 2011. "Is Anonymity the Missing Link Between Commercial and Industrial Revolution?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 974, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    15. 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.
    16. Alexandra M. de Pleijt & Jan Luiten van Zanden, 2016. "Accounting for the “Little Divergence”: What drove economic growth in pre-industrial Europe, 1300–1800?," European Review of Economic History, European Historical Economics Society, vol. 20(4), pages 387-409.
    17. Judy Z. Stephenson, 2020. "Working days in a London construction team in the eighteenth century: evidence from St Paul's Cathedral," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 73(2), pages 409-430, May.
    18. Mark Koyama, 2009. "The Price of Time and Labour Supply: From the Black Death to the Industrious Revolution," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _078, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    19. Yi Xu & Zhihong Shi & Bas Leeuwen & Yuping Ni & Zipeng Zhang & Ye Ma, 2017. "Chinese National Income, ca. 1661–1933," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 57(3), pages 368-393, November.
    20. Horrell, Sara & Humphries, Jane, 2019. "Children’s work and wages in Britain, 1280–1860," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 1-1.

    More about this item

    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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:54573. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: LSERO Manager on behalf of EH Dept. (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/chlseuk.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.