Puzzling Features of the Historical Income per Capita Distributions Explained

Ron W. NIELSEN

Abstract


Abstract. Distributions describing the growth ofthe Gross Domestic Product per capita (GDP/cap) arepuzzling. They show that income per capita was approximately constant over hundreds of years, maybe even over thousands of years, but then, as if suddenly it started to increase.The growth was changed apparently rapidly from approximately horizontal to approximately vertical.Numerous efforts have been made to explain these features but we show that they represent nothing more than the purely mathematical property of dividing two hyperbolic distributions. Historical growth of income per capita can be explained as having been controlled by the simple and familiar forces of growth.

Keywords. Income per capita, Gross Domestic Product, Growth of population, Hyperbolic growth.

JEL. A10, A12, A20, B41, C02, C12, C20, C50, Y80.


Keywords


Income per capita; Gross Domestic Product; Growth of population; Hyperbolic growth.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1453/jeb.v4i1.1155

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