DP850 | On the Historical Continuity of the Process of Economic Growth

Publication Date


JEL Code(s)


Programme Area(s)



Pooled regressions, first of eight and then of sixteen countries, show a steady and robust process of endogenous growth in Europe since 1870, interrupted only by the events of World War II and the impact of convergence towards US levels of performance in the 1950s and the 1960s. This result contrasts with that of Maurice Scott, who finds that growth accelerated after 1945. Catching up is no longer relevant in the 1970s and the 1980s, despite a continuing gap in productivity levels vis á vis the US. Neither was it relevant in the pre-World War II era. Growth is, therefore, characterized by the device `back to normal'. Even so, some under-perform in terms of economic growth.