Asia's ‘Little Divergence’ in the Twentieth Century: Evidence from Ppp‐Based Direct Estimates of GDP Per Capita, 1913–69

24 Pages Posted: 17 May 2020

See all articles by Jean-Pascal Bassino

Jean-Pascal Bassino

Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) de Lyon; Lyons Institute of East Asian Studies

Pierre van der Eng

Australian National University - College of Business & Economics

Date Written: February 2020

Abstract

This article uses expenditure‐based purchasing power parities (PPPs) to estimate GDP per capita in comparable prices for 12 Asian countries for six benchmark years during the period 1913–69. The article finds that in 1913 levels of real GDP per capita in several countries were comparable to those in Japan. GDP per capita in Japan and other Asian countries diverged during and after the First World War. The article questions whether Asia's ‘little divergence’ between Japan and other Asian countries dates back to the late eighteenth 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 article 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 available GDP per capita data.

Suggested Citation

Bassino, Jean-Pascal and van der Eng, Pierre, Asia's ‘Little Divergence’ in the Twentieth Century: Evidence from Ppp‐Based Direct Estimates of GDP Per Capita, 1913–69 (February 2020). The Economic History Review, Vol. 73, Issue 1, pp. 185-208, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3598442 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ehr.12880

Jean-Pascal Bassino (Contact Author)

Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) de Lyon ( email )

15, parvis Rene Descartes BP 7000
Lyon Cedex 07, 69342
France

Lyons Institute of East Asian Studies ( email )

15 Parvis René Descartes, BP 7000
Lyon, Cedex 69342
France

Pierre Van der Eng

Australian National University - College of Business & Economics ( email )

Research School of Management
26C Kingsley Street
Acton, ACT 2601
Australia
+61 2 6125 5438 (Phone)
+61 2 6125 8796 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/about/staff-directory/?profile=Pierre-van%20der%20Eng

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
1
Abstract Views
88
PlumX Metrics