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Global Disparities Since 1800:Trends and Regional Patterns

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  • Alam, M. Shahid

Abstract

This paper reviews the growing body of evidence on the relative economic standing of different regions of the world in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In general, it does not find support for Eurocentric claims regarding Western Europe’s early economic lead. The Eurocentric claims are based primarily on estimates of a per capita income, which are plagued by conceptual problems, make demands on historical data that are generally unavailable, and they use questionable assumptions to reconstruct early per capita income. A careful examination of these conjectural estimates of per capita income, however, does not support claims that Western Europe had a substantial lead over the rest of the world at the beginning of the nineteenth century. An examination of several alternative indices of living standards in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries – such as real wages, labor productivity in agriculture, and urbanization – also fails to confirm claims of European superiority. In addition, this paper examines the progress of global disparities – including the presence of regional patterns – using estimates of per capita income.

Suggested Citation

  • Alam, M. Shahid, 2006. "Global Disparities Since 1800:Trends and Regional Patterns," MPRA Paper 1289, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:1289
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/1289/1/MPRA_paper_1289.pdf
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Deng, Kent & O’Brien, Patrick Karl, 2016. "China’s GDP per capita from the Han Dynasty to communist times," Economic History Working Papers 64857, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    2. Kent Deng & Patrick Karl O’Brien, 2014. "Creative Destruction: Chinese GDP per capita from the Han Dynasty to Modern Times," Working Papers 0063, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    3. Martin Ravallion, 2013. "The Idea of Antipoverty Policy," NBER Working Papers 19210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Global economy; Disparities; Regional patterns; Per capita income; Real wages; Labor productivity; Agriculture; Eurocentric;

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • N17 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Africa; Oceania
    • N0 - Economic History - - General
    • F54 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Colonialism; Imperialism; Postcolonialism
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N16 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • N15 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Asia including Middle East
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative

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