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The question of ancient and pre-modern economic growth is of high interest among many researchers. Angus Maddison, emeritus professor at the University of Groningen, made important contribution to this research field by providing the most comprehensive and distant (back to 1 AD) estimates of economic and population growth. Maddison spent fifty years to complete these estimates, and, as a result, it was created unique database containing time series for GDP, GDP per capita and population for the period 1-2008 AD covering 163 countries as well as the book "Contours of the World Economy, 1–2030 AD: Essays in Macro-Economic History" (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007) on its basis. According to these estimates world population increased by 27 times, global GDP rose by 348 times and world-average GDP per capita grew by 13 times during the last 2000 years. One can say that the methods of estimating GDP and population for such distant periods are dubious and not clear. May be, but the research is pioneering and unique and, moreover, it created the basis for the further research in this field: initial Maddison database has already been revised and, hopefully, will being constantly revised in the future.

Source: Historical Statistics of the World Economy: 1-2008 AD

Author: Ivan Lapitskiy