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Asia's 'Little Divergence' in the 20th Century: Evidence from PPP-based direct estimates of GDP per capita, 1913-1969

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  • BASSINO, Jean-Pascal
  • van der ENG, Pierre

Abstract

This paper uses expenditure-based PPPs to create direct estimates of GDP per capita for 12 Asian countries in comparable prices for six benchmark years during 1913-1969. The paper finds that levels of real GDP per capita were in several countries comparable to those in Japan in 1913. GDP per capita of Japan and other Asian countries diverged during and after World War I. The paper questions whether Asia's 'little divergence' between Japan and other Asian countries dates back to the late-18th century. It draws attention to the different resource endowments of Japan, China and India compared to other Asian countries, and their implications for the development trajectories of Asian countries. The paper also demonstrates that using historical PPP estimates yields estimates of GDP per capita that diverge from those based on retropolations of the single 1990 PPP-converted benchmark year. It concludes that historical estimates of PPPs are needed to confirm analyses of comparative economic performance based on GDP per capita data.

Suggested Citation

  • BASSINO, Jean-Pascal & van der ENG, Pierre, 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:hit:hiasdp:hias-e-28
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. van der Eng, Pierre & Sohn, Kitae, 2019. "The biological standard of living in Indonesia during the 20th century: Evidence from the age at menarche," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 216-224.
    2. Kim, Nak Nyeon & Park, Ki-Joo, 2017. "The Origins Of The East Asian Incongruities In The Maddison Project Database," Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 58(2), pages 179-197, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Asia; PPPs; economic growth; Great Divergence; little divergence;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N15 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies

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