Development Centre Studies

OECD Development Centre

1990-0295 (online)
1563-4302 (print)
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This series of monographs from the OECD Development Centre covers development issues generally and in some cases issues in specific countries. It  includes Angus Maddison’s books containing long-term historical estimates of GDP for various areas of the world.

Also available in French, Spanish
Chinese Economic Performance in the Long Run, 960-2030 AD, Second Edition, Revised and Updated

Chinese Economic Performance in the Long Run, 960-2030 AD, Second Edition, Revised and Updated You do not have access to this content

OECD Development Centre

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Angus Maddison
28 Sep 2007
9789264037632 (PDF) ;9789264037625(print)

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The study provides a major reassessment of the scale and scope of China’s resurgence over the past half century, employing quantitative measurement techniques which are standard practice in OECD countries. It uses a comparative approach to explain why China’s role in the world economy has changed so dramatically in the last thousand years. It concludes that China is likely to resume its natural role as the world’s largest economy by the year 2015, thus regaining the position it had held until 1890. A dynamic link (StatLink) is provided for each table and graph, which directs the user to a web page where the corresponding data are available in Excel® format. Except for Appendix A, this edition has been revised and updated and Chapter 4 is completely new.

"..ambitious in scope and packed with facts. Highly recommended."


"The book is a must for anyone who wants to understand the past and the future of the Chinese economy."

-Justin Yifu Lin, Founding Director, China Center for Economic Research,
Peking University.

"This second edition is a very impressive and important contribution to a subject that has deep significance for the world economy."

-Professor Lawrence Klein, Nobel Laureate.

"A welcome update to a dazzling essay."

-Nicholas Eberstadt, American Enterprise Institute.

"This review of a millenium of Chinese economic history and its implications for the future of China and the World is a remarkable achievement. A must read for anyone interested in China."

-Dwight H. Perkins, Harvard University.

"A great masterpiece in the field of economic history, the shoulders of a giant on which new generations of scholars from all over the world will stand. We Chinese scholars will benefit as greatly from this second edition as we have from the first."

-Li Bozhong, Professor of History, Tsinghua University, Beijing.

Angus Maddison is Emeritus Professor of Economic Growth and Development at the University of Groningen. He held a number of senior posts at OEEC and OECD between 1953 and 1978, and has been a policy advisor to governments in Brazil, Ghana, Greece, Mexico and Pakistan. He is the author of 20 books on the long run performance of nations, and their interactions within the world economy. He has built up an international network of scholars working in this field. He is a fellow of the British Academy, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science, and an honorary fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge.

Also available in French
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  • Intensive and Extensive Growth in Imperial China
    Analysis of economic growth generally concentrates on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in which the pace of economic progress was unprecedented. Earlier performance has received much less attention because economic advance was at best very slow, quantification more difficult or non–existent.
  • Economic Decline and External Humiliation, 1820–1949
    The Ch’ing dynasty performed extremely well in terms of its own objectives from the end of the seventeenth to the beginning of the nineteenth century. From 1700 to 1820 population rose from 138 to 381 million — nearly eight times as fast as in Japan and nearly twice as fast as in Europe. This population growth was accommodated without a fall in living standards. Chinese GDP grew faster than that of Europe in the eighteenth century even though European per capita income rose by a quarter.
  • Dynamics of Development in the New China
    The establishment of the People’s Republic marked a sharp change in China’s political elite and mode of governance. The degree of central control was much greater than under the Ch’ing dynasty or the KMT. It reached to the lowest levels of government, to the workplace, to farms and to households. The party was highly disciplined and maintained detailed oversight of the regular bureaucratic apparatus. The military were tightly integrated into the system. Propaganda for government policy and ideology was diffused through mass movements under party control. Landlords, national and foreign capitalist interests were eliminated by expropriation of private property. China became a command economy on the Soviet pattern. After a century of surrender or submission to foreign incursions and aggression, the new regime was a ferocious and successful defender of China’s national integrity, willing to operate with minimal links to the world economy.
  • Problems and Prospects: the Outlook for China and the World Economy, 2003–2030
    As a consequence of successful policy, Chinese per capita income rose by 6.6 per cent a year from1978 to 2003, faster than any other Asian country, very much better than the 1.8 per cent a year in the United States and Western Europe and four times as fast as the world average. Per capita GDP rose from 22 to 63 per cent of the world average and China’s share of world GDP rose from 5 to 15 per cent. It became the world’s second biggest economy after the United States. In 1998, when most east Asian countries were caught in a foreign exchange crisis and had substantial recessions, the impact was small in China1. With the rather cautious assumptions we have made, China will probably surpass the United States as the number one economy in terms of GDP before or shortly after 2015. It is likely to account for about a quarter of world GDP in 2030, with a per capita income about one third larger than the world average. Its influence on the performance of the world economy and its geopolitical leverage will certainly be greater in 2030 than in 2003.
  • Appendices A to F - Maps and Bibliography
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