232/2015 Stephen Broadberry & Leigh Gardner
Recent advances in historical national accounting have allowed for global comparisons of GDP per capita across space and time. Critics have argued that GDP per capita fails to capture adequately the effects of new technology on living standards, and have developed alternative measures such as the human development index (HDI). Whilst recognising that this provides an appropriate measure for assessing levels of welfare, we argue that GDP per capita remains a more appropriate measure for assessing development potential, encompassing production as well as consumption. Twentieth-century Africa and pre-industrial Europe are used to show how such data can guide reciprocal comparisons to provide insights into the process of development on both continents.
Revista de Historia Económica