NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Other Countries Have Witnessed Longer Expansions

February 1, 2000

Americans have a right to feel jubilant over their nine-year economic boom. But they might keep in mind that they didn't invent long-running prosperity. Other countries have experienced longer periods of expansion, and ones more robust than ours.

Japan and South Korea, for example, have at different times racked up decade-plus runs of growth as high as 10 percent a year or more.

  • Japan experienced about 20 straight years of uninterrupted economic growth between the early years of the 1950s and the 1970s -- and then for another 15 years until the early 1990s.
  • Since 1963, when its economy grew 9.1 percent, South Korea has experienced only two years of economic contraction -- the worst being 1998, when the economy shrank 5.8 percent.
  • Starting in 1983, Chile went 16 years without a major economic downturn.
  • Experts estimate that the major European economies recognized growth of 5 percent or more during 1948 through the mid-1960s -- but that was a result of rebuilding after World War II.

Last year, Colombia's economy underwent its first year of negative growth since 1931. While the country has free-market economic policies, analysts cite another reason for the strong economy over the decades: cocaine.

Source: News Roundup, "In Asia, Europe, Latin America, Duration of Expansions Put Latest U.S. Boom in the Shade," Wall Street Journal, February 1, 2000.


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