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International Comparisons of Real Product, 1820–1990: An Alternative Data Set

Authors
Journal
Explorations in Economic History
0014-4983
Publisher
Elsevier
Volume
37
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1006/exeh.1999.0731
Disciplines
  • Economics

Abstract

Abstract In this paper a new set of current price estimates of per capita income, adjusted for each currency's purchasing power, is presented for a sample of mainly OECD countries during more than one and a half centuries. A short-cut method is used to derive current price comparisons for countries and periods in which aggregate PPPs are not available. Current price estimates of PPP-adjusted GDP appear to be more economically sound than constant price figures, as economic agents react to current, not to constant, prices, and, therefore, would allow more appropriate cross-country comparisons of productivity and welfare. Country rankings in the new data set are different from those provided by earlier cross-country comparisons; among the new findings earlier U.S. leadership and the closer relative position of Britain and France over the 19th century can be highlighted.

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