Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Roger Fouquet and Stephen Broadberry — Seven Centuries of European Economic Growth and Decline

This paper investigates very long-run preindustrial economic development. New annual GDP per capita data for six European countries over the last seven hundred years paint a clearer picture of the history of European economic development. We confirm that sustained growth has been a recent phenomenon, but reject the argument that there was no long-run growth in living standards before the Industrial Revolution. Instead, the evidence demonstrates the existence of numerous periods of economic growth before the nineteenth century—periods of unsustained, but raising GDP per capita. We also show that many of the economies experienced substantial economic decline. Thus, rather than being stagnant, pre-nineteenth century European economies experienced a great deal of change. Finally, we offer some evidence that, from the nineteenth century, these economies increased the likelihood of being in a phase of economic growth and reduced the risk of being in a phase of economic decline.
Progress is not as linear as some imagine.

Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 29 No. 4 (Fall 2015)
Seven Centuries of European Economic Growth and Decline
Roger Fouquet, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science, and Stephen Broadberry, Oxford University
ht Brad DeLong

No comments: