The World Economy by the OECD Development Centre
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Reviews of The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective


In the past few years, there has been a resurgence of interest in long-term economic growth, and consequently, the need for long-term data on the countries of the world has become more acute. The data provided by the Heston-Summers Penn World Tables are available, but they start in 1950, which is too short a period to analyze the elements that are important to development and growth. So those who study macroeconomics and economic growth and who use long-term data have anxiously awaited the arrival of The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective. This book, which provides data on GDP and population growth for the past millennium, enables quantification of long-term changes, and is therefore of exceptional interest; for research, it is a must.

Elise S. Brezis, "Review of Angus Maddison The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective" Economic History Services, Nov 26, 2001.
Complete review at http://www.eh.net/bookreviews/library/0418.shtml


This work is a tour de force. In three brilliantly concise chapters and six invaluable statistical appendices, Maddison presents the comprehensive quantitative analysis of the history of the millennium that has just passed and earned him so many admirers and a lasting place in the pantheon of economics. What a wonderful gift for the new century!

Robert Mundell, Nobel Prize Winner in Economic Science (1999) and Professor of Economics, Colombia University, New York.


Angus Maddison has done more than anyone to give us a view of the world economy in "deep time", seeing how it has evolved over the really long run. His new book is a remarkable synthesis of data; it will be an essential reference for anyone interested in global economic development for many years to come.

Paul Krugman, Professor of Economics, Princeton University.


For nearly five decades, Angus Maddison has stood at the forefront of the systematic study of patterns of international economic development. His latest work, "The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective", is quite simply a dazzling essay - one that only a handful of scholars alive today might have dared to undertake, and that perhaps only Maddison himself could have executed.

In offering up a brief assessment of humanity's economic performance over the past thousand years, Maddison presents important new quantitive estimates of global economic trends, and displays an extraordinary command of world economic history. This powerful little book will be indispensible reading for many years to come.

Nicholas Eberstadt, Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy,American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC


Cet ouvrage est dans la ligne des travaux antérieurs - déjà classiques - d'Angus MADDISON, mais il est plus ambitieux: il présente l'histoire de l'économie mondiale, durant le millénaire qui vient de s'achever. Il s'agit d'une histoire systématiquement quantitative, basée sur la construction de multiples séries longues (remontant parfois jusqu'au XIème siecle), avec pour objFrançois Crouzet, Angus Maddison...ectif de comparer les performances économiques des grandes régions du monde et des principaux pays. Cet énorme matériel statistique est présenté (en appendice surtout, mais aussi dans le texte) dans de nombreux tableaux, avec des remarques critiques, qui assurent la transparence des données et permettent au lecteur d'apprécier le degré de conjecture qu'elles comportent. C'est là un corpus monumental, qui sera indispensable pour tout économiste et tout décideur soucieux de prendre en compte la longue durée.

Trois chapitres dégagent très clairement les conclusions. Depuis l'an 1 000, le produit mondial a été multiplié par 300, le revenu par être humain par 13. Mais cette croissance a été marquée par l'inégalité. D'abord dans le temps: elle a été très lente jusqu'en 1820 environ, sans les accélérations vers 1500 ou vers 1760 auxquelles on a souvent cru, l'essentiel en a été concentré dans les deux derniers siècles. L'inégalité aussi dans l'espace. A. Maddison souligne l'exceptionalisme de la performance économique de l'Europe occidentale dans le long terme, et dans le plus court terme de ses "rejetons" (Amérique du Nord, Australasie, Japon). Il fait comprendre pourquoi le revenu par tête des Etats-Unis est aujourd'hui vingt fois celui de l'Afrique.

Cet ouvrage exceptionnel vient à son heure, à un moment où la mondialisation est au coeur de tant de débats.

François Crouzet, Professeur émérite d'histoire, Université de Paris-Sorbonne


... To understand the future, one must start with the past. Happily, the distinguished economic historian Angus Maddison has just completed an analysis of the world economy over the past 2,000 years, which sheds much light on the future.

Martin Wolf, Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times (13 March 2001)


"Readers of Angus Maddison's work over the years will be familiar with his sharply statistical approach to economic history, providing an extensive range of data, akin to a public good, gratefully used by the rest of the profession. This book is no exception to that approach.

It contains a remarkable range of statistical tables particularly on population, employment, international trade and income, for just about the whole of the world for the past millennium. It is a work that should be in every historian's collection.

...as a reference and interpretational work on historical statistics, over the long run, with broad coverage and careful explanation of an exhaustive list of sources, this work has no match."

International Journal of Maritime History (Volume XIII, No.2, December 2001)
Simon Ville, University of Wollongong, SNW, Australia


OECD Press Release

Looking back over 1000 years of economic history puts today's "new" economy in perspective. How much bigger impact can information and communications technology have in proportional terms on economic growth than the invention of the plough or the development of ocean-going vessels? Angus Maddison, author of the 1995 book "Monitoring The World Economy 1820-1992", has dug back even farther in his new book, The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective, in an attempt to understand the forces behind economic growth. After painstakingly quantifying contributing factors - territorial expansion, international trade and capital movements, technological and institutional innovation - Maddison concludes that future growth will derive much of its impetus from a combination of globalisation and efficient governance. In other words, open markets matter, and so do government policies.

LATE NOTE: Angus Maddison passed away on 24 April 2010