Category Archives: 1815-1870

From convergence to divergence: Portuguese economic growth, 1527-1850

By 1850 per capita incomes in Portugal were not different from what they had been in the early 1530s.

The paper “From convergence to divergence: Portuguese economic growth, 1527-1850”, by myself (Nuno Palma) and Jaime Reis, is forthcoming in the Journal of Economic History.

Despite the fact that by 1850 per capita incomes in Portugal were not different from what they had been in the early 1530s, starting in the early 1630s there was a persistent upward trend which accelerated after 1710 and peaked 40 years later.

At that point, per capita income was high by European standards, though a bit behind the most advanced Western European economies. But as the second half of the eighteenth century unfolded, a phase of economic decline was initiated. This continued into the nineteenth century so that Portugal became one of the most backward economies of Europe, precisely as the era of modern economic growth was beginning in several other Western European countries.

Portugal would then have to wait until the 1950s to start catching up.

You can find an open access version of the paper here.

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Unconventional monetary policy in the past: Lessons for today

I start by sharing a recent vox.eu article written by Patrick O’Brien and myself which relies on our recent work about the Bank of England during the Restriction Period, 1797-1821 (during which gold convertibility of banknotes was suspended).

We are currently revising the paper in preparation to be submitted to a journal and in due time a new working paper will come out, and at that point I’ll post some new thoughts.

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