Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Evolution of world GDP distribution

The Economist draws on Angus Maddison's historical data tables to highlight the evolution in the respective shares of GDPs of the major economies (in PPP terms) from 1 AD.

The graphic shows that China and India were the biggest economies in the world for almost all of the past 2000 years. While they will surely not attain the same respective shares ever, it is inevitable that over the coming half century, they could become the two largest economies. China just passed Japan to become the second largest economy in the world. Interestingly, India was the largest economy for three-fourths of the period.

Update 1 (1/7/2012)

Excellent graphic of the changing face of global GDP distribution since 1 AD. Note how India and China dominated the world economy for much of the period and it is only since 1800s that the western economies have been dominant. 

Derek Thompson makes the good point that "everything to the left of 1800 is an approximation of population distribution around the world and everything to the right of 1800 is a demonstration of productivity divergences around the world".

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