Discussion paper

DP11971 Japan and the Great Divergence, 730-1874

Japanese GDP per capita grew at an annual rate of 0.08 per cent between 730 and 1874, but the growth was episodic, with the increase in per capita income concentrated in two periods, 1450-1600 and after 1721, interspersed with periods of stable per capita income. There is a similarity here with the growth pattern of Britain. The first countries to achieve modern economic growth at opposite ends of Eurasia thus shared the experience of an early end to growth reversals. However, Japan started at a lower level than Britain and grew more slowly until the Meiji Restoration.


Broadberry, S, J Bassino, K Fukao, B Gupta and M Takashima (2017), ‘DP11971 Japan and the Great Divergence, 730-1874‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 11971. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp11971