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CLIO INFRA Jan Luiten van Zanden Utrecht University/Groningen/Stellenbosch.

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Presentation on theme: "CLIO INFRA Jan Luiten van Zanden Utrecht University/Groningen/Stellenbosch."— Presentation transcript:

1 CLIO INFRA Jan Luiten van Zanden Utrecht University/Groningen/Stellenbosch

2 Economic history and the ‘beyond GDP’ debate Our view of the long-term development of the world economy is largely based on GDP estimates (Maddison synthesis) National accounts has been very fruitful approach for understanding and interpreting development world economy since 1800

3 Economic history and the ‘beyond GDP’ debate But limitations of GDP are also well known (inequality, sustainability) Can economic history offer historical dimension to well-being debate? Is picture of development of world economy really different if we move to more inclusive measures of well-being?

4 Structure presentation Introduction: Clio Infra Method: how to ‘create’ large global datasets covering the world economy 1500-2010 It is possible to reconstruct long term development of various dimensions of well- being? Does it really matter? Does it produce a different picture of the rise and development of global inequality?

5 Clio Infra: large scale research infrastructure project Aim: to create the research infrastructure for the analysis of global inequality Better estimates of the ‘usual’ indicators (such as GDP) Alternative indicators: real wages, life expectancy, biological standard of living, ‘agency’ (Sen) Datasets about proximate and ultimate causes of growth and stagnation: human capital, institutions, family systems, culture and religion, knowledge production (books?), geography etc. How does growth affect sustainability? For the period 1500-2010, for the whole world

6 Approach CLIO INFRA Set of specialized hubs that produce global datasets Central website at International Institute for Social History (IISH) Cooperation with Gapminder and Statplanet And with Data Archive DANS for datastorage

7 CLIO INFRA Total budget 4.2 M€ For 2011-2014 Stages: 2011: design central hub, and requirements of data uploaded from datahubs December 2012: first version on-line available: first sets of data from hubs 2012/2013: work on datasets and on refinements central hub 2014: ‘final’ version of all websites

8 CLIO INFRA consists of Thematic datahubs: National Accounts: the Maddison project (Groningen) Biological Standard of Living and Age heaping (Tuebingen) Human Capital Formation (Debrecen/Utrecht) Demography, Gender, Labour Status (IISH) Prices and Wages (IISH) Institutions & Agency (UU) Sustainability (UU)

9 CLIO INFRA consists of Thematic datahubs: National Accounts: the Maddison project (Groningen) Biological Standard of Living and Age heaping (Tuebingen) Human Capital Formation (Debrecen/Utrecht) Demography, Gender, Labour Status (IISH) Prices and Wages (IISH) Institutions & Agency (UU) Sustainability (UU)


11 Example: the Maddison project Collaboratory: team of scholars working on same topic, for example estimating GDP on global scale (Maddison network) How to continue with this work in the post-Maddison period? Two-layered organization: working group of four ‘disciples’ (Bart van Ark, Leandro Prados, Debin Ma, Jan Luiten van Zanden) Broader advisory board with all specialists (25) covering regions and periods Website: project/index.htm

12 Example: Maddison project Conference in November 2010 How to proceed: we take Maddison dataset as starting point What are weak and strong points (assessment: 4 categories)? New work to be included (for example England and Holland before 1800) Working group collects new estimates and produces working paper (Bolt and Van Zanden 2012; Van Ark and De Jong 2012) Session Stellenbosch 2012 to discuss new results – then (maybe) launched on internet

13 Example: Maddison project Core problem of collab: how to collect and integrate into one consistent set of estimates dispersed expertise of dozens (economic) historians Standardization; peer review; data availability Via ‘layered’ teamwork: Maddison project, labour status project IISH

14 Measuring the Great Divergence

15 GDP per capita from about 1300: England, Netherlands, Indonesia

16 Other dimensions of well-being Demography: Life Expectancy Biological standard of living Sustainability Institutions and Gender Human Capital Inequality

17 Other hubs: Biological standard of living: heights in world economy (men, birth cohorts, in cm) (Baten/Tuebingen)

18 Human Capital Hub: educational attainment

19 Human Capital Hub: educational attainment (England 1300-1900)

20 Wages and prices hub: a.o. real wage developments

21 Real wages in Latin America, 1524-1820

22 Demography hub: a.o. life expectancy

23 Sustainability hub (with HYDE, PBL): a.o. biodiversity and emissions

24 Institutions hub: quality of political institutions (PolityIV)

25 Institutions hub: quality of political institutions before 1800


27 Various dimensions of inequality Global Income Inequality 1820-2000 GDP per capita

28 The aim: various dimensions of inequality Institutional inequality(polityIV)

29 New Results: is it possible to go beyond GDP as measure of welfare? HDI index – can we extend this into pre 1850 period (for large parts of world economy)? Can we broaden the concept of ‘well- being’ and include other dimensions as well Stiglitz, Sen & Fitoussi (Sarkozy-report) Measuring well-being by OECD (Better Life Initiative)

30 Problems and limitations Conceptual issues; what exactly are we measuring? No ‘subjective’ indices, no interviews, difficult to use very specific indicators But expert opinion can sometimes replace this (polityIV dataset) Use of smart proxies But: crude estimates, big gaps in sources

31 From GDP to HDI Per capita GDP/GNI (PPP) Life expectancy at birth Literacy/Average years of education Changes in measures, goalpost, and aggregation This all can and is measured for large parts of world economy 1500-present

32 Two additions considered here Political rights & civil liberties –Currently not done, but elephant in room –HDR 1991, 1992, 2000 –Dasgupta & Weale, 1992 Gender equity –Women frequently lack freedom –Done for present: Gender Development Index (GDI) and Gender Inequality Index (GII –Sen, World (Bank) Development Report 2012; Duflo: smart economics, good outcome in its own right

33 Gender Equity GDI has high data requirements: –life exp. by gender –educational attainment by gender –income by gender To make life easier, UNDP replaced it with GII –maternal mortality –adolescent fertility –parliamentary seats by gender –educational attainment by gender –labour force participation by gender

34 Solution? Carmichael et al.: “Girl power”




38 Advantage: really long-term

39 Political & civil rights UNDP tried in 1991-2 Lots of criticism –Undemocratic countries did not like it –Humana/The economist’s index insufficient, too subjective, biased

40 Political & civil rights NameAuthorsPeriod coveredMeasures Polity IVMarshall & Jaggers, 20051800–2004 Open, competitive political participation VanhanenVanhanen, 20001810–1998 Voter turnout, political competition Freedom in the WorldFreedom House, 20111972–Political rights, civil rights Political Terror ScaleGibney et al., 20101976– State terror against subjects, focus on physical integrity Poe & Tate, 19991976–1993 Government repression of human rights to personal integrity CIRICingranelli & Richards, 20101981– Physical integrity, civil rights and liberties, workers’ rights, women’s rights. World Handbook of Political and Social Indicators Taylor & Jodice, 19831973–1979Political rights, civil rights Alvarez et al., 19961950-1990 Political regime changeGasiorowski, 1996Independence(1747)-1992Democracy/authoritarian Bollen1972-1988Composite CAMCoppedge et al., 2008Contestation + inclusiveness

41 Trends in political freedom: Polity and Vanhanen compared

42 Political & civil rights


44 Goalposts for new variables Translate to 0-1 scale Polity IV: minimum and maximum exists throughout, e.g. present-day Saudi-Arabia, Australia SMAM: 12.5 (India, 1925) and 33.66 (Saint Lucia, 1991)

45 Component indices, income

46 Component indices, health

47 Component indices, education

48 Component indices, political

49 Component indices, gender eq.

50 Resulting HDI





55 HDI over time


57 Adding variables Simple addition to HDI aggregation, so:

58 Adding political freedoms

59 Adding gender equity

60 Adding both


62 Conclusions Gender equity makes surprisingly little difference Political freedoms matter greatly in long term quality of life, esp. MENA, E. Asia, E. Europe + (former) SU No more steady improvement, but strong divergence followed by convergence Caveats: data, goalposts, aggregations rules

63 Integration 5 indices Same weights? Weights derived from principal components analysis? Empirical studies ‘substitution’ between sub- indices? Website where each visitor can decide his/her own weights (OECD Better Life) Theoretical inspiration: Sen (‘freedom’; agency)

64 In the footsteps of Angus Maddison It is possible to measure long term economic, social and political changes in the world economy 1500-2010 (with, obviously, large gaps and big margins of error) Standardization, peer review, data exchange are keys – within collabs Clio Infra also tries to address Well Being debate – multidimensional measures of ‘development’

65 Will this result in paradigm shift like in the 1930s-1950s? 1930s-1950s: coming together of new theories (Keynes), statistical techniques (national accounting) and demand for policy advice (understanding 1930s, fostering growth) Such a combination is arguably not (yet) present at the moment

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