IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/oxf/esohwp/_154.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Growing, Shrinking and Long Run Economic Performance: Historical Perspectives on Economic Development

Author

Listed:
  • Stephen Broadberry
  • John Wallis

Abstract

Using annual data from the thirteenth century to the present, we show that improved long run economic performance has occurred primarily through a decline in the rate and frequency of shrinking, rather than through an increase in the rate of growing. Indeed, as economic performance has improved over time, the short run rate of growing has typically declined rather than increased. Most analysis of the process of economic development has hitherto focused on increasing the rate of growing. Here, we focus on understanding the forces making for a reduction in the rate of shrinking, drawing a distinction between proximate and ultimate factors. The main proximate factors considered are (1) structural change (2) technological change (3) demographic change and (4) the changing incidence of warfare. We conclude with a consideration of institutional change as the key ultimate factor behind the reduction in shrinking.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Broadberry & John Wallis, 2017. "Growing, Shrinking and Long Run Economic Performance: Historical Perspectives on Economic Development," Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers _154, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:esohwp:_154
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. N. F. R. Crafts & C. K. Harley, 1992. "Output growth and the British industrial revolution: a restatement of the Crafts-Harley view," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 45(4), pages 703-730, November.
    2. Rodrik, Dani, 1999. "Where Did All the Growth Go? External Shocks, Social Conflict, and Growth Collapses," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 385-412, December.
    3. Philip T. Hoffman, 2015. "Why Did Europe Conquer the World?," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 10452, April.
    4. Broadberry,Stephen & Campbell,Bruce M. S. & Klein,Alexander & Overton,Mark & van Leeuwen,Bas, 2015. "British Economic Growth, 1270–1870," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107070783, October.
    5. Broadberry, Stephen, 2013. "Accounting for the great divergence," Economic History Working Papers 54573, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    6. Allen, Robert C., 2009. "The Industrial Revolution in Miniature: The Spinning Jenny in Britain, France, and India," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 901-927, December.
    7. Hartwell, Robert, 1966. "Markets, Technology, and the Structure of Enterprise in the Development of the Eleventh-Century Chinese Iron and Steel Industry," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(1), pages 29-58, March.
    8. Galor, Oded, 2005. "From Stagnation to Growth: Unified Growth Theory," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 171-293, Elsevier.
    9. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
    10. Crafts, N. F. R., 1995. "Exogenous or Endogenous Growth? The Industrial Revolution Reconsidered," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(4), pages 745-772, December.
    11. Pritchett, Lant, 2000. "Understanding Patterns of Economic Growth: Searching for Hills among Plateaus, Mountains, and Plains," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(2), pages 221-250, May.
    12. Lant Pritchett, 1997. "Divergence, Big Time," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 3-17, Summer.
    13. Gregory Clark, 2007. "Introduction to A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World," Introductory Chapters, in: A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World, Princeton University Press.
    14. North, Douglass C. & Weingast, Barry R., 1989. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(4), pages 803-832, December.
    15. Broadberry,Steve N., 2005. "The Productivity Race," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521023580, October.
    16. 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.
    17. Thomas, Ryland & Hills, Sally & Dimsdale, Nicholas, 2010. "The UK recession in context — what do three centuries of data tell us?," Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, Bank of England, vol. 50(4), pages 277-291.
    18. 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)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Shahid Yusuf, 2017. "Middle-income countries: trapped or merely slowing?," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 31(2), pages 19-29, November.
    2. Cristián Ducoing & José Peres-Cajías & Marc Badia-Miró & Ann-Kristin Bergquist & Carlos Contreras & Kristin Ranestad & Sara Torregrosa, 2018. "Natural Resources Curse in the Long Run? Bolivia, Chile and Peru in the Nordic Countries’ Mirror," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(4), pages 1-25, March.
    3. 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.
    4. Broadberry, Stephen & Gardner, Leigh, 2019. "Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa, 1885-2008," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 100473, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Radoslaw Stefanski & Alex Trew, 2020. "Selection, Patience, and the Interest Rate," Discussion Paper Series, School of Economics and Finance 202002, School of Economics and Finance, University of St Andrews, revised 23 Jul 2021.
    6. Geert Bekaert & Alexander Popov, 2019. "On the Link Between the Volatility and Skewness of Growth," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 67(4), pages 746-790, December.
    7. Dev Patel & Justin Sandefur & Arvind Subramanian, 2021. "The New Era of Unconditional Convergence," Working Papers 54, Ashoka University, Department of Economics.
    8. Inklaar, Robert & de Jong, Harmen & Bolt, Jutta & van Zanden, Jan, 2018. "Rebasing 'Maddison': new income comparisons and the shape of long-run economic development," GGDC Research Memorandum GD-174, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
    9. Richard Bluhm & Denis de Crombrugghe & Adam Szirmai, 0. "Do Weak Institutions Prolong Crises? On the Identification, Characteristics, and Duration of Declines during Economic Slumps," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 34(3), pages 810-832.
    10. Kufenko, Vadim & Prettner, Klaus & Geloso, Vincent, 2020. "Divergence, convergence, and the history-augmented Solow model," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 62-76.
    11. Emmanuel Bovari & Victor Court, 2019. "Energy, knowledge, and demo-economic development in the long run: a unified growth model," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-01698755, HAL.
    12. Andersson, Martin, 2018. "Resilience to Economic Shrinking: A Social Capability Approach to Processes of Catching up in the Developing World 1951-2016," Lund Papers in Economic History 183, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    13. Bassino, Jean-Pascal & van der Eng, Pierre, 2019. "Japan and the Asian Divergence: Market Integration, Climate Anomalies and Famines during the 18th and 19th Centuries," CEI Working Paper Series 2018-18, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    14. Andersson, Jens, 2018. "Tax Stabilisation, Trade and Political Transitions in Francophone West Africa over 120 Years," African Economic History Working Paper 41/2018, African Economic History Network.

    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 & Ghosal, Sayantan & Proto, Eugenio, 2017. "Anonymity, efficiency wages and technological progress," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 379-394.
    2. Roger Fouquet & Stephen Broadberry, 2015. "Seven Centuries of European Economic Growth and Decline," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 227-244, Fall.
    3. Fochesato, Mattia, 2018. "Origins of Europe’s north-south divide: Population changes, real wages and the ‘little divergence’ in early modern Europe," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 91-131.
    4. Yang, Dennis Tao & Zhu, Xiaodong, 2013. "Modernization of agriculture and long-term growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 367-382.
    5. 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.
    6. Nicholas Crafts, 2010. "Cliometrics and technological change: a survey," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(5), pages 1127-1147.
    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. Emmanuel Bovari & Victor Court, 2019. "Energy, knowledge, and demo-economic development in the long run: a unified growth model," Working Papers hal-01698755, HAL.
    9. Azam, Jean-Paul & Bates, Robert H. & Biais, Bruno, 2009. "Political Predation and Economic Development," IDEI Working Papers 342, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    10. Jakob Madsen & James Ang & Rajabrata Banerjee, 2010. "Four centuries of British economic growth: the roles of technology and population," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 263-290, December.
    11. Jakob B. Madsen & Fabrice Murtin, 2017. "British economic growth since 1270: the role of education," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 229-272, September.
    12. Joel Mokyr & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2012. "Understanding Growth in Europe, 1700–1870: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Economic Sociology, National Research University Higher School of Economics, vol. 13(5), pages 57-102.
    13. Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2006. "Why England? Demographic factors, structural change and physical capital accumulation during the Industrial Revolution," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 319-361, December.
    14. Gars, Johan & Olovsson, Conny, 2019. "Fuel for economic growth?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 184(C).
    15. Bruno Chiarini & Elisabetta Marzano, 2014. "Urbanization and Growth: Why Did the Splendor of the Italian Cities in the Sixteenth Century not Lead to Transition?," CESifo Working Paper Series 5038, CESifo.
    16. Jean Paul Azam & Robert Bates & Bruno Biais, 2009. "Political Predation And Economic Development," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(2), pages 255-277, July.
    17. Rohan Dutta & David K. Levine & Nicholas W. Papageorge & Lemin Wu, 2018. "Entertaining Malthus: Bread, Circuses, And Economic Growth," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 56(1), pages 358-380, January.
    18. Broadberry, Stephen N & Guan, Hanhui & Li, David Daokui, 2017. "China, Europe and the great Divergence: A Study in Historical National Accounting, 980-1850," CEPR Discussion Papers 11972, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. Klaus Desmet & Stephen Parente, 2012. "The evolution of markets and the revolution of industry: a unified theory of growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 205-234, September.
    20. Roger Koppl & Abigail Devereaux & Jim Herriot & Stuart Kauffman, 2018. "A Simple Combinatorial Model of World Economic History," Papers 1811.04502, arXiv.org.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N0 - Economic History - - General
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O0 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - General
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth

    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:oxf:esohwp:_154. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/sfeixuk.html .

    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: Anne Pouliquen The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Anne Pouliquen to update the entry or send us the correct address (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/sfeixuk.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.