Twentieth Century Growth

100 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2013

See all articles by Nicholas Crafts

Nicholas Crafts

University of Warwick

Kevin O'Rourke

University of Oxford

Date Written: September 2013


This paper surveys the experience of economic growth in the 20th century with a focus on technological change at the frontier together with issues related to success and failure in catch-up growth. A detailed account of growth performance based on historical national accounts data is given and is accompanied by a review of growth accounting evidence on the sources of economic growth. The key features of our analysis of divergence in growth outcomes are an emphasis on the importance of ‘directed’ technical change, of institutional quality, and of geography. We provide brief case studies of the experience of individual countries to illustrate these points.

Keywords: catch-up growth, divergence, growth accounting, technical change

JEL Classification: N10, O33, O43, O47

Suggested Citation

Crafts, Nicholas and O'Rourke, Kevin, Twentieth Century Growth (September 2013). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP9633, Available at SSRN:

Nicholas Crafts (Contact Author)

University of Warwick ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Kevin O'Rourke

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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