Global Income Distribution and Convergence 1820–2003

Péter Földvári & Jan Luiten van Zanden

Published: June 2009

Can the development of the world economy – the growth of global gross domestic product and the increase in global inequality – in the period from 1820 to 2003 be understood as the result of the spread of one fundamental ‘innovation’, the Industrial Revolution? This paper tries to establish how the ‘convergence club’ evolves over time (which countries become a member, when and why), and what determinants (institutional and geographical) have affected this process. At first sight, both types of factor prove important, but once the endogeneity of institutions is taken care of, we find that spatial determinants prevail.

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