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Economic growth in the Twentieth Century

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Estimates of growth rates of real output per head in various countries are presented and it is concluded that divergence has been more common than catch-up in the twentieth century. Trends in the Human Development Index are reported and these offer a more encouraging picture of the relative performance of poor countries. Key issues in growth economics are reviewed against the background of the long-run evidence; these include the plausibility of innovation-based theories of endogenous growth, the reasons for the commonplace failure of fast-growing countries to sustain their growth, and the impact of technological revolutions on productivity growth.

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