Historical Patterns of Development and Underdevelopment

Following on the success of UEE, the Initiative applied in November 2007 for a collaborative research project grant from the Commission's Framework Programme. 'Historical Patterns of Development and Underdevelopment' (HI-POD) was launched in 2008 and concludes in 2012.

Today's vast international inequalities stem, above all, from the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, which spread only very slowly from its initial base in northwestern Europe, and which has reached large sections of the Third World only during the last half-century or so. This opened up enormous income gaps between regions, which has become known as the "Great Divergence" in international living standards. HI-POD examines the historical roots of the Great Divergence and the reasons for its persistence. It will take explore these issues using two distinct analytical perspectives: unified growth theory; and economic geography. HI-POD aims to provide a firmer quantitative documentation of the divergence, in particular for Europe before 1850 and for non-western nations into the 20th century. HI-POD analyses the Great Divergence not simply on a country-by-country basis, but as a global phenomenon that which took place in a context of widespread economic and political contacts between regions. A major question addressed by HI-POD is to what extent can the patterns of growth, convergence and divergence be explained by forces internal to the various world regions, and to what extent are they explained by interactions between these world regions?