Great Divergence

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The Great Divergence refers to the stylized fact of a divergence in living standards between these two, during and before the 19th century:

  • Western Europe (and the parts of the United States settled by people from Western Europe)
  • The other great medieval empires, including Mughal India, Wing China, the Ottoman Empire, Joseon Korea, and Tokugawa Japan.

Variables of contention

Timing

Some schools (such as those led by Maddison) take the view that living standards had diverged in the medieval period, by the 17th century or earlier, with per capita GDP in Western Europe about double that in India, China, and Japan. The per capita GDP diverged further in the 19th century with the Industrial Revolution.

The California School endorses the Pomeranz hypothesis, which says that there was no divergence till the late 18th century, so that the Great Divergence occurred along with, or just shortly before, the Industrial Revolution.

Causes

See wikipedia:Great Divergence#Possible factors for nwo.

Schools of thought

Name of school Key people Key views Datasets brandished
Maddison school, after Angus Maddison[1] Angus Maddison, Jan Luiten van Zanden, Debin Ma Living standards between Western Europe and the other great empires had already diverged in the Medieval Period, though the ratio of living standards was relatively small (about a factor of two) Maddison Project database
California school[1] Kenneth Pomeranz, Ken Deng, Patrick O'Brien Pomeranz Hypothesis: Divergence did not really begin till the late 18th century  ??
  1. 1.0 1.1 Jan Luiten van Zanden; Debin Ma (September 1, 2017). "What Makes Maddison Right?" (PDF). Retrieved October 5, 2017.