The Maddison Project, initiated in March 2010 by a group of close colleagues of Angus Maddison, aims to develop an effective way of cooperation between scholars to continue Maddison's work on measuring economic performance in the world economy. This paper is a first product of the project. Its goal is to inventory recent research on historical national accounts, to briefly discuss some of the problems related to these historical statistics and to extend and where necessary revise the estimates published by Maddison in his recent overviews (2001; 2003; 2007) (also made available on his website at http://www.ggdc.net/MADDISON/oriindex.htm)


Jutta Bolt and Jan Luiten van Zanden

Production date

January 2013


Gross Domestic Product per Capita


GDP per Capita; Economic Growth

Time period

Between Roman times and 2010

Geographical coverage

Global coverage

Methodologies used for data collection and processing

Database builts on the work of Angus Maddison complemented by work of country specialists who have provided us with their estimates

Period of collection

January 2011-January 2013

Data collectors

Jutta Bolt and Jan Luiten van Zanden; see for a full list of participants of the Maddison Project: http://www.ggdc.net/maddison/maddison-project/participants.htm

(multiple possibilities) - Indication of the quality of the data based on the following categories: i. Central statistical agencies ii. Historical reconstructions iii. Estimates

General references

Allen, R. C. (2001). "The Great Divergence in European Wages and Prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War", Explorations in Economic History 38: 411 - 447.

Allen, R. C. and J. L. Weisdorf (2011). "Was there an `industrious revolution' before the industrial revolution? An empirical exercise for England, c. 1300 - 1830," Economic History Review, 64(3): 715-729.

Álvarez-Nogal, C. and L. Prados de la Escosura (2011). "The Rise and Fall of Spain (1270-1850)," CEPR Discussion Papers 8369, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

Arroyo Abad, L., E. Davies J. L. van Zanden (2012). "Between conquest and independence: Real wages and demographic change in Spanish America, 1530 - 1820," Explorations in Economic History, 49 (2): 149 - 166.

Baffigi, A. (2011)."Italian National Accounts, 1861-2011", Banca d'Italia Economic History Working Papers 18.

Bassino, J.P., S. Broadberry, K. Fukao, B. Gupta and M. Takashima (2011). "Japan and the Great Divergence, 730-1870", Working Paper*

Bertola, L and Ocampo, J.A. (2012) The Economic Development of Latin America since Independence. Oxford, Oxford U.P.

Broadberry, S. and B. Gupta (2012). India and the Great Divergence: an Anglo-Indian Comparison of GDP per Capita, 1600-1871", University of Warwick Working Paper series, 81.

Broadberry, S., B. Campbell, A. Klein, M. Overton, B. van Leeuwen (2011). "English Economic Growth, 1270-1700, Mimeo *

Burhop, C. and G.B. Wolff (2005). "A compromise estimate of the net national product and the business cycle in Germany,1851-1913, The Journal of Economic History, Volume 65 (3): 613 - 657

Buyst, E. (2011), "Towards Estimates of Long Term Growth in the Southern Low Countries, ca.1500-1846", Results presented at the Conference on Quantifying Long Run Economic Development, Venice, 22-24 March, 2011.

Halbeisen, P./Müller, M./Veyrassat, B., Wirtschaftsgeschichte der Schweiz im 20. Jahrhundert, Basel: Schwabe, 2012, pp. 1173-1177 and 1185-1214

De Zwart, P. (2011a). " Labour Relations in Ceylon, ca. 1650", Global Collaboratory on the History of Labour Relations, 1500-2000.

De Zwart, P. (2011b). "South African Living Standards in Global Perspective, 1835-1910", Economic History of Developing Regions 26 (2011) 49-74.

Federico, G. (2002). The world economy 0-2000 AD: a review article. European Review of Economic History 6, 111-121.

Feinstein, C. H. and M. Thomas (2001). "A Plea for Errors", University of Oxford Discussion Papers in Economic and Social History, Number 41.

Foldvari, Peter, and Leeuwen, Bas van (2010), "Comparing per capita income in the Hellenistic world: the case of Mesopotamia," Paper presented at the Conference in honor of Angus Maddison, Amsterdam, November 2010.

Fourie, J. and J.L. van Zanden (2012). "GDP in the Dutch Cape Colony: The national accounts of a slave-based society", CGEH Working Paper Series 30.

Frankema, E.H.P. and M. van Waijenburg (2011). "African Real Wages in Asian Perspective, 1880-1940," CGEH Working Paper Series 2.

Gregory, P. R. (1982). Russian National Income, 1885 - 1913, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hopkins, K. (1980). "Taxes and trade in the Roman Empire (200 B.C.- A.D. 400)." The Journal of Roman Studies. vol 70, p. 101-125.

Ivanov, M. (2006). "Bulgarian National Income between 1892 and 1924," Bulgarian National Discussion Papers DP/54/2006.

Jerven, M. ( 2009). "The Relativity of Poverty and Income: How Reliable are African Economic Statistics?," African Affairs 109/434: 77 - 96.

Jerven, M. (2011). "Comparing colonial and post-colonial output: Challenges in estimating African economic change in the long run," CGEH Working Paper Series.

Kostelenos G., S. Petmezas, D. Vasiliou, E. Kounaris and M. Sfakianakis, (forthcoming), "Gross Domestic Product 1830-1939", Sources of Economic History of Modern Greece: Quantitative data and statistical series 1830-1939, Historical Archives of the National Bank of Greece, Athens.

Li, Bozhong (2010). Zhongguo de zaogi jindai jingji: 1820 niandai Huanting-Louxian diqu GDP yanjiu (An early modern economy in China: A study of the GDP of Huating-Lou area, 1820s). Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2010.

Li, Bozhong (2011)."An Early Modern Economy in China: A Study of the GDP of the Huating-Lou Area, 1823 - 1829" CGEH working paper 18, to be published in Billy K.L. So (ed.) New Perspectives on Historical Chinese Market Economy: Studies of Late Imperial Lower Yangzi Delta, Routhledge, Academia Sinica Series.

Li, B. and J.L. van Zanden (2010). "Before the Great Divergence? Comparing the Yangzi Delta and the Netherlands at the Beginning of the Nineteenth Century", CEPR Discussion Papers 8023.

Lo Cascio, E. and P. Malanima (2011). "Ancient and Pre-Modern Economies GDP in the Roman Empire and Early Modern Europe", Paper presented at the Conference on Quantifying Long Run Economic Development, Venice, 22-24 March, 2011

Lo Cascio, Elio, and Paolo Malanima (2009). "GDP in Pre-Modern Agrarian Economies (1-1820 AD). A Revision of the Estimates," Rivista di Storia Economica, XXV (3): 387-415.

Maddison, Angus (2001). The World Economy. A millennial perspective. Paris, OECD.

Maddison, Angus (2003). The World Economy. Historical Statistics. Paris, OECD.

Maddison, Angus (2007). Contours of the World Economy 1-2030 AD. Oxford, Oxford U.P..

Malanima P. (2011). The Long Decline of a Leading Economy. GDP in North Italy 1300-1911', European Review of Economic History 15 (2): 169-219.

Markevich, A. and M. Harrison (2011). "Great War, Civil War, and Recovery: Russia's National Income, 1913 to 1928", The Journal of Economic History, Volume 71 (3): 672 - 703.

McCusker, John J., `Colonial Statistics', Historical Statistics of the United States: Earliest Time to the Present. S. B. Carter, S. S. Gartner, M. R. Haineset al. New York, Cambridge University Press. V-671.

Milanovic, Branko (2006), "An estimate of average income and inequality in Byzantium around year 1000," Review of Income and Wealth 52 (3).

Pamuk, Ş. and M. Shatzmiller (2011). "Real Wages and GDP per capita in the Medieval Islamic Middle East in Comparative Perspective, 700-1500", paper presented at the 9th Conference of the European Historical Economics Society, Dublin, September 2-3, 2011.

Pfister, U. (2011). " Economic growth in Germany, 1500 - 1850", Paper presented at the Conference on Quantifying Long Run Economic Development, Venice, 22-24 March, 2011

Pomeranz, K. (2000). The Great Divergence. China, Europe and the Making of the Modern World Economy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Prados de la Escosura, L. (2009). "Lost Decades? Economic Performance in Post-Independence Latin America," Journal of Latin America Studies 41: 279 - 307

Prados de la Escosura, L. (2011). "Human Development in Africa: a Long Run Perspective", CEPR Discussion Paper 8586.

Reis, J., Martins, C. A. and Costa, L. F. (2011). New Estimates of Portugal's GDP per Capita, 1500-1850," Prepared for the "Quantifying long run economic development conference", University of Warwick in Venice, 22 - 24 March 2011.

Sutch, R. (2006). National Income and Product. Historical Statistics of the United States: Earliest Time to the Present. S. B. Carter, S. S. Gartner, M. R. Haineset al. New York, Cambridge University Press III-23-25.

Roy T. (2010). "Economic Conditions in Early Modern Bengal: A Contribution to the Divergence Debate", The Journal of Economic History, 70: 179-194

Scheidel, Walter, Steven Friesen, "The Size of the Economy and the Distribution of Income in the Roman Empire," Journal of Roman Studies, 99, 61-91, 2009.

Schön, L. and Krantz, O. (2012). "The Swedish economy in the early modern period: constructing historical national accounts," European Review of Economic History 16 (4): 529-549.

Sokoloff, K.L. and S.L. Engerman (2000). "History lessons: Institutions, factors endowments, and paths of development in the new world." The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 14 (3): 217 - 232

Sugimoto, I. (2011). Economic Growth of Singapore in the Twentieth Century, Historical GDP Estimates and Empirical Investigations, Economic Growth Centre Research Monograph Series - Vol. 2, http://www.worldscibooks.com/economics/7858.html)

Van der Eng, P. (2010). "The Sources of Long-Term Economic Growth in Indonesia, 1880-2008", Explorations in Economic History, 47: 294-309. Estimates are updated to include 2009-2010.

Van Leeuwen, B., J. Van Leeuwen-Li and P. Foldvari (2012). "Was Education a Driver of Economic Development in Africa? Inequality and Income in the Twentieth Century", Mimeo*.

Van Zanden, J.L. (2001). Early modern economic growth: a survey of the European economy 1500-1800 In: M. Prak (ed.) Early Modern Capitalism. London: Routledge, 69-87.

Van Zanden, J.L. (2003). "Rich and Poor before the Industrial Revolution: a comparison between Java and the Netherlands at the beginning of the 19th century", Explorations in Economic History 40: 1-23

Van Zanden, J. L. (2009). The Long Road to the Industrial Revolution. The European Economy in a Global Perspective, 1000-1800. Leiden: Brill Publishers.

------. (2012). "Economic Growth in Java 1815-1939: The Reconstruction of the Historical National Accounts of a Colonial Economy", Maddison-Project Working Paper WP-3.

Van Zanden, J. L. and B. van Leeuwen (2012). "Persistent but not Consistent: The Growth of National Income in Holland 1347-1807". Explorations in Economic History, 2012


Anguilla[No Data]

Antigua and Barbuda1500 (5)-2013 (21)

Aruba[No Data]

Bahamas1500 (5)-2013 (23)

Barbados1500 (5)-2013 (27)

Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba[No Data]

British Virgin Islands[No Data]

Cayman Islands[No Data]

Cuba1500 (8)-2012 (34)

Curaçao[No Data]

Dominica1500 (5)-2013 (20)

Dominican Republic1500 (6)-2013 (40)

Grenada1500 (5)-2013 (21)

Guadeloupe[No Data]

Haiti1500 (6)-2013 (36)

Jamaica1500 (6)-2013 (38)

Martinique[No Data]

Montserrat[No Data]

In 2010, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) awarded a subsidy to the Clio Infra project, of which Jan Luiten van Zanden was the main applicant and which is hosted by the International Institute of Social History (IISH). Clio Infra has set up a number of interconnected databases containing worldwide data on social, economic, and institutional indicators for the past five centuries, with special attention to the past 200 years. These indicators allow research into long-term development of worldwide economic growth and inequality.

Global inequality is one of the key problems of the contemporary world. Some countries have (recently) become wealthy, other countries have remained poor. New theoretical developments in economics - such as new institutional economics, new economic geography, and new growth theory - and the rise of global economic and social history require such processes to be studied on a worldwide scale. Clio Infra provides datasets for the most important indicators. Economic and social historians from around the world have been working together in thematic collaboratories, in order to collect and share their knowledge concerning the relevant indicators of economic performance and its causes. The collected data have been standardized, harmonized, and stored for future use. New indicators to study inequality have been developed. The datasets are accessible through the Clio Infra portal which also offers possibilities for visualization of the data. Clio Infra offers the opportunity to greatly enhance our understanding of the origins, causes and character of the process of global inequality.