Indian GDP Before 1870: Some Preliminary Estimates and a Comparison with Britain

33 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2010

See all articles by Stephen N. Broadberry

Stephen N. Broadberry

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Bishnupriya Gupta

University of Warwick - Department of Economics

Date Written: September 2010

Abstract

This paper provides estimates of Indian GDP constructed from the output side for the pre-1871 period, and combines them with population estimates to track changes in living standards. Indian per capita GDP declined steadily between 1600 and 1871. As British living standards increased from the mid-seventeenth century, India fell increasingly behind. Whereas in 1650, Indian per capita GDP was more than 80 per cent of the British level, by 1871 it had fallen to less than 15 per cent. As well as placing the origins of the Great Divergence firmly in the early modern period, the estimates suggest a relatively prosperous India at the height of the Mughal Empire, with living standards well above bare bones subsistence.

Keywords: Britain, comparison, Indian GDP

JEL Classification: N10, N30, N35, O10, O57

Suggested Citation

Broadberry, Stephen N. and Gupta, Bishnupriya, Indian GDP Before 1870: Some Preliminary Estimates and a Comparison with Britain (September 2010). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP8007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1707897

Stephen N. Broadberry (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

+44 0 24 7652 3446 (Phone)
+44 0 24 7652 3032 (Fax)

Bishnupriya Gupta

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

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