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Chapter 10 On the Track of the World's Economic Center of Gravity

Economic Growth and Development

ISBN: 978-1-78052-396-5, eISBN: 978-1-78052-397-2

Publication date: 1 November 2011


This chapter proposes a refined and updated measurement of the World's Economic Center of Gravity over the 1950–2008 period, based on historical data provided by Maddison (2010) and on the detailed grid data of the G-Econ (Nordhaus, 2006) database. The economic center of gravity is located in the vicinity of Iceland during the first three decades, and then heads strongly toward the East since 1980. Regarding geographic concentration, world production is less concentrated than population across the Earth's surface, and becomes even less so over time. A new decomposition technique is proposed, which suggests a structural break at the end of the 1970s. Measures of R&D activity, education expenditures and literacy as growth related indicators depict a spatial pattern that is consistent with the Eastern shift of the world economic center of gravity.



Grether, J.-M. and Andréa Mathys, N. (2011), "Chapter 10 On the Track of the World's Economic Center of Gravity", de La Grandville, O. (Ed.) Economic Growth and Development (Frontiers of Economics and Globalization, Vol. 11), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 261-287.



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