Open main menu

The World Economy: Historical Statistics

The World Economy: Historical Statistics is a landmark book by Angus Maddison. Published in 2004 by the OECD Development Centre, it studies the growth of populations and economies across the centuries: not just the world economy as it is now, but how it was in the past.

The World Economy: Historical Statistics
1 AD to 2003 AD Historical Trends in global distribution of GDP China India Western Europe USA Middle East.png
AuthorAngus Maddison
GenreEconomic history
PublisherOECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Publication date
Media typePrint (book)
330.9 22
LC ClassHF1359 .M333 2003

Among other things, it showed that Europe's gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was faster progressing than the leading Asian economies since 1000 AD, reaching again a higher level than elsewhere from the 15th century,[1] while Asian GDP per capita remained static until 1800, when it even began to shrink in absolute terms, as Maddison demonstrated in a subsequent book.[2] At the same time, Maddison showed them recovering lost ground from the 1950s, and documents the much faster rise of Japan and East Asia and the economic shrinkage of Russia in the 1990s. It also shows how colonialism strongly benefited Europe at a tremendous cost to Asia.

The book is a mass of statistical tables, mostly on a decade-by-decade basis, along with notes explaining the methods employed in arriving at particular figures. It is available both as a paperback book and in electronic format. Some tables are available on the official website.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Maddison, Angus: The World Economy. A Millennial Perspective (Vol. 1). Historical Statistics (Vol. 2), OECD 2006, ISBN 92-64-02261-9, p. 629
  2. ^ Maddison, Angus (2007): "Contours of the World Economy, 1–2030 AD. Essays in Macro-Economic History", Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-922721-1, p. 379, table A.4.

External linksEdit