List of regions by past GDP (PPP)

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These are lists of regions and countries by their estimated real gross domestic product (GDP) in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP), the value of all final goods and services produced within a country/region in a given year. GDP dollar (international dollar) estimates here are derived from PPP estimates.

Methodology[edit]

In the absence of sufficient data for nearly all economies until well into the 19th century, past GDP cannot be calculated, but at best only roughly estimated. In a first step, economic historians try to reconstruct the GDP per capita for a given political or geographical entity from the meagre evidence. This value is then multiplied by estimated population size, another determinant for which as a rule only little ancient data is available.

A key notion in the whole process is that of subsistence, the income level which is necessary for sustaining one's life. Since pre-modern societies, by modern standards, were characterized by a very low degree of urbanization and a large majority of people working in the agricultural sector, economic historians prefer to express income in cereal units. To achieve comparability over space and time, these numbers are then converted into monetary units such as International Dollars, a third step which leaves a relatively wide margin of interpretation.

The formula thus is: GDP (PPP) = GDP per capita (PPP) x population size

It should be stressed that, historically speaking, population size is the far more important multiplier in the equation. This is because, in contrast to industrial economies, the average income ceiling of premodern agrarian societies was quite low everywhere, possibly not higher than twice the subsistence level.[1] Therefore, the total GDP as given below primarily reflects the respective historical population size, and is much less indicative of contemporary living standards than, for example, estimations of past GDP per capita are.

According to the 20th-century macroeconomist Paul Bairoch, a pioneer in historical economic analysis,

it is obvious that by itself the volume of total GNP has no important significance, and that the volume of GNP is not by itself the expression of the economic strength of a nation.

Rather, Bairoch advocates a formula combining GNP per capita and total GNP to give a better measure of the economic performance of national economies.[2]

World 1–2003 (Maddison)[edit]

The following estimates are taken exclusively from the 2007 monograph Contours of the World Economy, 1–2030 AD by the British economist Angus Maddison.[3] For his separate estimate of Roman GDP (PPP) and that of other authors, see below.

GDP (PPP) in millions of 1990 International Dollars
Country / Region11000150016001700182018701913195019732003
Austria2132981,4142,0932,4834,1048,41923,45125,70285,227173,311
Belgium1351701,2251,5612,2884,52913,71632,34747,190118,516219,069
Denmark721444435697271,4713,78211,67029,65470,032124,781
Finland8161362152559131,9996,38917,05151,724106,749
France2,3662,76310,91215,55919,53935,46872,100144,489220,492683,9651,315,601
Germany1,2251,4358,25612,65613,65026,81972,149237,332265,354944,7551,577,423
Italy6,4752,25011,55014,41014,63022,53541,81495,487164,957582,7131,110,691
Netherlands851287232,0724,0474,2889,95224,95560,642175,791348,464
Norway40801832663617772,3605,98817,72844,852118,591
Sweden801603826261,2313,0986,92717,40347,269109,794193,352
Switzerland1281234117501,0682,1655,58116,48342,545117,251164,773
UK3208002,8156,00710,70936,232100,180224,618347,850675,9411,280,625
12 country total11,1468,36638,45056,78470,988142,399338,979840,6121,286,4343,660,5616,733,430
Portugal1802556068141,6383,0434,2197,46717,61563,397144,694
Spain1,8671,8004,4957,0297,48112,29919,55641,65361,429266,896684,537
Other1,2405046329751,1062,1104,71212,47830,600105,910294,733
Total Western Europe14,43310,92544,18365,60281,213159,851367,466902,2101,396,0784,096,7647,857,394
Eastern Europe1,9562,6006,6969,28911,39324,90650,163134,793185,023550,756786,408
Former USSR1,5602,8408,45811,42616,19637,67883,646232,351510,2431,513,0701,552,231
USA27252080060052712,54898,374517,3831,455,9163,536,6228,430,762
Other Western offshoots17622832032030695113,11965,558179,574521,6671,277,267
Total Western offshoots4487481,12092083313,499111,493582,9411,635,4904,058,2899,708,029
Mexico8801,8003,1881,1342,5585,0006,21425,92167,368279,302740,226
Other Latin America1,3602,7604,1002,6293,7889,92121,09794,875347,9601,110,1582,391,919
Total Latin America2,2404,5607,2883,7636,34614,92127,311120,796415,3281,389,4603,132,145
Japan1,2003,1887,7009,62015,39020,73925,39371,653160,9661,242,9322,699,261
China26,82026,55061,80096,00082,800228,600189,740241,431244,985739,4146,187,984
India33,75033,75060,50074,25090,750111,417134,882204,242222,222494,8322,267,136
Other east Asia4,8458,96820,82224,58228,44036,45153,155122,874256,938839,2583,926,975
West Asia10,12012,41510,49512,63712,29115,27022,46840,588106,283548,1201,473,739
Total Asia (excl. Japan)75,53581,683153,617207,469214,281391,738400,245609,135830,4282,621,62413,855,834
Africa8,03013,83519,38323,47325,77631,26645,23479,486203,131549,9931,322,087
World105,402120,379248,445331,562371,428694,5981,110,9512,733,3655,331,68916,022,88840,913,389
Country / Region11000150016001700182018701913195019732003

Maddison' assumptions have been criticized and admired by academics and journalists. By Bryan Haig, who has characterized Maddison's figures for 19th century Australia as "inaccurate and irrelevant",[4] by John Caldwell, in whose assessment Maddison's arguments have a "dangerous circularity",[5] by W. W. Rostow, according to whom "this excessive macroeconomic bias also causes him (Maddison) to mis-date, in my view, the beginning of what he calls the capitalist era at 1820 rather than, say, the mid-1780s."[6]

W. J. MacPherson has described Maddison's work on India and Pakistan of using "dubious comparative data."[7] Maddison's estimates have also been critically reviewed and revised by the Italian economists Giovanni Federico[8] and Elio Lo Cascio/Paolo Malanima (see below).[9]

However, economist and journalist Evan Davis has praised Maddison's research by citing it as a "fantastic publication" and that it was "based on the detailed scholarship of the world expert on historical economic data Angus Maddison." He also added that "One shouldn't read the book in the belief the statistics are accurate to 12 decimal places."[10]

Europe[edit]

Europe 1830–1938 (Bairoch)[edit]

The following estimates were made by the economic historian Paul Bairoch.[11] Contrary to most other estimates on this page, the GNP (PPP) is given here in 1960 US dollars. Unlike Maddison, Bairoch allows for the fluctuation of borders, basing his estimates mostly on the historical boundaries at the given points in time.[12]

GNP (PPP) in millions of 1960 US dollars
Country / Region183018401850186018701880189019001910191319251938
Austria----------4,3144,320
Austria-Hungary7,2108,3159,1909,99611,38012,29715,38019,40023,97026,050--
Baltic countries----------2,2982,760
Belgium1,0981,3971,8092,3022,8823,2563,8044,8006,3086,7947,6588,501
Bulgaria---5886166118089701,1651,2601,6132,628
Czechoslovakia----------6,8228,050
Denmark2562923614766127881,0951,5442,0312,4212,8932,893
Finland2562953704205506708601,1101,3951,6701,9103,339
France8,58210,33511,87013,32616,80017,38119,75823,50026,86927,40136,26239,284
Germany7,2358,32010,39512,77116,69719,99326,45435,80045,52349,76045,00277,178
Greece-2002202503654406407809101,5402,3404,200
Hungary----------3,0254,137
Ireland----------1,8621,907
Italy5,5705,9516,6667,4668,2738,7459,43510,82012,59815,62418,51023,701
Netherlands9131,1051,3181,5021,8232,1882,6603,1644,1504,6606,6967,987
Norway3163784906427288861,0411,2861,6011,8342,3703,812
Poland----------7,32512,885
Portugal8609459851,1001,1751,2701,3601,5501,7101,8002,0462,634
Romania--7608369501,1001,3501,7002,1252,4505,1236,780
Russia/USSR10,55011,20012,70014,40022,92023,25021,18032,00043,83052,42032,60075,964
Serbia---320345382432560700725--
Spain3,6004,1504,7005,4005,3005,4005,6756,5007,3337,4509,4988,511
Sweden5576177298601,0251,3851,7002,3583,2613,8244,6276,908
Switzerland5807009301,2001,4601,9202,1002,5993,3553,7004,3005,063
United Kingdom8,24510,43112,59116,07219,62823,55129,44136,27340,62344,07443,70056,103
Yugoslavia----------3,8705,221
Europe58,15266,99777,93791,073114,966126,975146,723188,534231,550256,845257,434376,947
Western Europe[12]38,910--63,670---126,900-163,780179,830231,560
Eastern Europe[12]19,240--27,400---61,640-93,06077,600145,390
Country / Region183018401850186018701880189019001910191319251938

Europe 1500–1870 (Lo Cascio/Malanima)[edit]

The following estimates are taken from a revision of Angus Maddison's numbers for the whole of Europe by the Italian economists Elio Lo Cascio and Paolo Malanima.[13] According to their calculations, the basic level of European GDP (PPP) was historically higher, but its increase was less pronounced.

YearGDP (PPP) in millions of 1990 International Dollars
1500111,680
1600133,760
1700159,440
1750205,530
1800253,900
1870619,970

Roman and Byzantine Empires[edit]

Much of the recent work in estimating past GDP has been done in the study of the Roman economy, following the pioneering studies by Keith Hopkins (1980) and Raymond Goldsmith (1984).[14] The estimates by Peter Temin, Angus Maddison, Branko Milanović and Peter Fibiger Bang follow the basic method established by Goldsmith, varying mainly only in their set of initial numbers; these are then stepped up to estimations of the expenditure checked by those on the income side. Walter Scheidel/Steven Friesen determine GDP on the relationship between certain significant economic indicators which were historically found to be plausible; two independent control assumptions provide the upper and lower limit of the probable size of the Roman GDP.[15]

Estimates of Roman GDP (PPP)[A]
UnitGoldsmith
1984[16]
Hopkins
1995/96[17]
Temin
2006[18]
Maddison
2007[19]
Milanovic
2007[20]
Bang
2008[21]
Scheidel/Friesen
2009[22]
Population
(Approx. year)
55m
(14 AD)
60m
(14 AD)
55m
(100 AD)
44m
(14 AD)
55m
(14 AD)
60m
(150 AD)
70m
(150 AD)
GDP (PPP) inSestercesHS 20.9bnHS 13.5bnHS 9.2bnHS 16.7bnHS 20.9bnHS 13.7bn~HS 20bn
Wheat equivalent46.4 Mt29.5 Mt33.8 Mt37.1 Mt30 Mt50 Mt
Million 1990 International Dollars$25,100$34,815$43,400

A ^ Decimal fractions rounded to the nearest tenth. Italic numbers not directly given by the authors; they are obtained by multiplying the respective value of GDP per capita by estimated population size.

The GDP per capita of the Byzantine Empire, the continuation of the Roman Empire in the east, has been estimated by the World Bank economist Branko Milanović to range between $680 and 770 (in 1990 International Dollars) at its peak around 1000 AD, that is the reign of Basil II.[23] The Byzantine population size at the time is estimated to have been 12 to 18 million.[24] This would yield a total GDP somewhere between $8,160 and 13,860 million.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Milanovic 2006, p. 460, 468:

    In conclusion, the fact that the average incomes in the most developed agricultural economies like Augustan Rome and Basil's Byzantium were about twice or less than the subsistence minimum might indicate that the pre-industrial societies were unlikely to ever exceed that ceiling. This in turn has implications for our assessment of the average standard of living in other, non-Western, pre-industrial economies like those of China, India, pre-Columbian Americas, and Africa....A further implication of these calculations is that a realistic maximum income that could be envisaged for the pre-industrial societies might be a bit more than twice the subsistence minimum, or around $PPP 1000 (at 1990 international prices).

  2. ^ Bairoch 1976, p. 282
  3. ^ Maddison 2007, p. 379, table A.4.
  4. ^ Haig, Bryan. 2005. "Review of The World Economy: Historical Statistics by Angus Maddison," Economic Reports, volume 81.
  5. ^ Caldwell, John C. (Sept. 2002), "Reviewed Work(s): The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective by Angus Maddison", Population and Development Review, Vol. 28, No. 3., pp. 559-561.
  6. ^ Rostow, W. W.. "Reviewed Work(s): Phases of Capitalist Development. by Angus Maddison," The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 45, No. 4. (Dec., 1985), pp. 1026-1028.
  7. ^ MacPherson, W. J. "Reviewed Work(s): Class Structure and Economic Growth. India and Pakistan since the Moghuls by Angus Maddison." The Economic Journal, Vol. 82, No. 328. (Dec., 1972), pp. 1470-1472.
  8. ^ Federico 2002, pp. 111–120
  9. ^ Lo Cascio, Malanima Dec. 2009, pp. 391–420
  10. ^ "China's magnificent historic past". BBC News. 2005-03-10. Retrieved 2010-05-08. 
  11. ^ Bairoch 1976, pp. 281, table 4; 295, table 10
  12. ^ a b c The border between "Western Europe" and "Eastern Europe" as defined by Bairoch corresponds to the iron curtain, with "Eastern Europe" being identical to the Eastern Bloc (Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Romania, Poland, and the USSR plus Albania). All the rest of Europe makes up "Western Europe" (Bairoch 1976, pp. 317, 319).
  13. ^ Lo Cascio, Malanima Dec. 2009, p. 411, table 6
  14. ^ Scheidel, Walter; Morris, Ian; Saller, Richard, eds. (2007): The Cambridge Economic History of the Greco-Roman World, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-78053-7
  15. ^ Scheidel, Friesen Nov. 2009, pp. 63–72
  16. ^ Goldsmith 1984, pp. 263–288
  17. ^ Hopkins 1995/96, pp. 41–75. His estimates are upward revisions from Hopkins 1980, pp. 101–125, where he lays out his basic method.
  18. ^ Temin 2006, pp. 31–54
  19. ^ Maddison 2007, pp. 43–47; 50, table 1.10; 54, table 1.12
  20. ^ Milanovic, Lindert, Williamson Oct. 2007, pp. 58–66
  21. ^ Bang 2008, pp. 86–91
  22. ^ Scheidel, Friesen Nov. 2009, pp. 61–91
  23. ^ Milanovic 2006, p. 468
  24. ^ Milanovic 2006, p. 461

Bibliography[edit]

GDP of the Roman Empire
GDP of the Byzantine Empire
European GDP per capita
Angus Maddison — reviews and revisions

External links[edit]