What was the world’s average per capita income in the year 1 AD? Why could China’s expansion not last beyond the 13th century? Why and when did the West get rich? Why did Sub–Saharan Africa not take off? Why is India still poor? While Angus Maddison will probably be most widely known for his long term series on gross domestic product and per capita income, going back many centuries, he more than anyone else used it to develop an immense research portfolio which shed light on those and other fundamental questions. Angus Maddison was an example of this rare brand of scholars who didn’t shy away from the big issues in economic development and growth. On 24 April 2010 he died at the age of 83. It was the end of a fascinating life and an impressive and internationally acclaimed career in reconstructing and studying the history of economic performance. Angus’ work has been widely acclaimed and he has been honored both during his lifetime and since he passed away. This book represents one of those honors. It is a collection of revised versions of a set of core papers which were presented at mini-conferences held in Groningen and Brisbane on the occasion of Angus Maddison’s 80th birthday in 2006. The Groningen meeting focused on the long term growth performance in the Western Hemisphere, whereas the Brisbane meeting had prime focus on Asia.