Unfolding the Turbulent Century: A Reconstruction of China's Historical National Accounts, 1840–1912

24 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2019

See all articles by Ye Ma

Ye Ma

University of Groningen

Herman de Jong

University of Groningen - Faculty of Economics and Business

Date Written: March 2019

Abstract

This paper reconstructs China's economic development between 1840 and 1912 with an estimation of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It provides for the first time a time series of GDP (per capita) for the late Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), based on sectoral output and value added, in current as well as in constant prices. The present estimation of per capita GDP in the late Qing period comes out higher than previous estimations, but it still suggests low average levels of Chinese living standards. The economy during the late Qing Empire was characterized by a large and growing agricultural sector and displayed only minor structural changes. Only in the beginning of the twentieth century did the economy start to show signs of growth.

Keywords: 19th century, China, GDP, living standards

JEL Classification: E01, E23, N15

Suggested Citation

Ma, Ye and de Jong, Herman, Unfolding the Turbulent Century: A Reconstruction of China's Historical National Accounts, 1840–1912 (March 2019). Review of Income and Wealth, Vol. 65, Issue 1, pp. 75-98, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3332589 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/roiw.12314

Ye Ma (Contact Author)

University of Groningen

P.O. Box 800
9700 AH Groningen, Groningen 9700 AV
Netherlands

Herman De Jong

University of Groningen - Faculty of Economics and Business ( email )

Postbus 72
9700 AB Groningen
Netherlands

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