Maddison Project

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This article is about an economic statistics project. View a list of all economic statistics projects

The Maddison Project, also known as the Maddison Historical Statistics Project, is a project to collate historical economic statistics, such as GDP, GDP per capita, and labor productivity.[1][2][3] It was launched in March 2010 to continue the work of the late economic historian Angus Maddison. The project is under the Groningen Growth and Development Centre at the University of Groningen,[2] which also hosts the Penn World Table, another economic statistics project.[4]


Item Value
Start date March 2010 for the explicit Maddison Project[1]
1960s for the original work by Angus Maddison that was the genesis of the project.[5]:3
Data versioning Only one update released as Maddison Project, published January 2013 with data till 2010.[5]
Possibly multiple versions published by Angus Maddison.
Focus Historical: identify general ballparks and trends in living standards and economic growth over long time periods.
Provide better insight into the timeline of the Great Divergence between Western Europe and other regions that were historically similarly situated, such as China and India.

Data description

The only update released by the Maddison Project was published in January 2013, with data till 2010.[5] The underlying data is available as an Excel spreadsheet.[6]

Data dimensions and metrics

The data presented in the Maddison Project database is a partial function where:

  • The inputs (the dimensions) are country and year.
  • The only output (the metric) is real GDP per capita, expressed in 1990 international Geary–Khamis dollars.


Person Affiliation Qualification Opinion
Branko Milanović[3] World Bank Development economist Only source for long-run national GDPs going back to 1920s
Also, differing conclusions about Chinese GDP and growth rates due to higher estimates of their price levels
Morten Jerven[7] Norwegian University of Life Sciences Development economist One of three main sources of GDP numbers
Bill Gates[8] Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Smart well-read person Mostly echoes Jerven
Paul Krugman[9] New York Times Economist, columnist Data source for historical debt, growth, and labor output and productivity data.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Maddison Project". Retrieved October 3, 2017. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "The Database". Groningen Growth and Development Centre. Retrieved October 3, 2017. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Milanović, Branko (July 19, 2013). "The end of a long era". World Bank. Retrieved October 3, 2017. 
  4. "The Database. Penn World Table version 9.0". Groningen Growth and Development Centre. Retrieved October 3, 2017. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Bolt, Jutta; van Zanden, Jan Luiten (January 2013). "The First Update of the Maddison Project Re-Estimating Growth Before 1820" (PDF). Retrieved October 3, 2017. 
  6. "Maddison Project Database". January 1, 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2017. 
  7. Jerven, Morten. "Why Do GDP Growth Rates Differ?". Retrieved October 3, 2017. 
  8. Gates, Bill (May 8, 2013). "Bill Gates: how GDP understates economic growth. GDP may be an inaccurate indicator in sub-Saharan Africa, which is a concern for those who want to use statistics to help the world's poorest people". The Guardian. Retrieved October 3, 2017. 
  9. Krugman, Paul (April 26, 2013). "Debt and Growth Data". New York Times. Retrieved October 3, 2017. 

External links