World Economic Performance
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World Economic Performance

Past, Present and Future

Edited by D. S.P. Rao and Bart van Ark

World economic performance over the last 50 years has been spectacular. The postwar period has witnessed impressive growth rates in Western Europe and Japan, and in recent times China and India. This new book discusses these issues and tackles topical questions such as; what are the socio-economic and institutional factors that have contributed to this impressive performance? Will China and India continue to grow at the same rate over the next two decades? What are the prospects for Japan, the US and other advanced economies? The book brings together contributions by eminent scholars including the late Angus Maddison, Professors Justin Lin, Bob Gordon, Ross Garnaut, Bart van Ark and others to provide answers to these fascinating questions. The chapters analyse the economic performance of selected countries including China, India, Japan, Indonesia and the US, as well as Western Europe, Latin America and developing countries as a group. The time period of the study is from 1850 to the present and includes forecasts to 2030.
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Research Objectives and Results, 1952-2002

Past, Present and Future


My major objective has been to explain differences in the growth performance and income levels of nations. I developed a comparative and historical perspective, using a quantitative macroeconomic approach in the tradition of Colin Clark and Simon Kuznets. The influence of my work (15 books and 120 articles) is attested by frequency of citation and translation, and its impact on other scholars trying to measure and understand processes of economic growth, convergence and divergence. I have played a major part in building up a quantitative historical record of economic growth performance and the causal influences which are measureable. I have developed a network of former students and other researchers in different parts of the world who have constructed or improved macroeconomic accounts for many countries. I have tried to promote consistency and comparability in statistical treatment, with transparent description of sources and methodology. My work covers three fields: (1) interpretation of the economic performance of advanced capitalist countries; (2) explanation of economic backwardness, retardation and catch-up in the rest of the world and (3) analysis of the pace and pattern of world economic development, and interaction between major parts of the world economy.

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