NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 2, 2009

The Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has some great international historical macroeconomic datasets, says Mark J. Perry, a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan.

According to its Website, the International Macroeconomic Data Set provides data from 1969 through 2020 for real (adjusted for inflation) gross domestic product (GDP), population, real exchange rates, and other variables for the 190 countries and 34 regions that are most important for U.S. agricultural trade.

Studying the annual shares of real world GDP for four geographical regions (European Union 15, Asia/Oceania, Latin America and the combined share of Africa and the Middle East) and comparing them to the U.S. share of world GDP between 1969 and 2009, one finds some surprising trends, says Perry:

  • The United  States' share of world GDP has been relatively constant for the last 40 years, and is actually slightly higher in 2009 (26.7 percent) than it was in 1975 (26.3 percent).
  • The EU15's share of world GDP has declined from about 36 percent of world output in 1969 to only 27 percent in 2009.
  • And despite having a large share of the world's oil reserves, the Middle East's share of global output has increased from only 2.23 percent  in 1969 to 3.16 percent in 2009.

The data reports for real GDP, population, real exchange rates and other variables for the 190 countries and 34 regions that are most important for U.S. agricultural trade, says Perry.

What does it all mean?  According to Perry:

  • World GDP (real) doubled between 1969 and 1990, and has increased by another 60 percent since then, so that world output in 2009 is more than three times greater than in 1969.
  • It will be a mistake to assume that the significant economic growth over the last 40 years in China, India and Brazil somehow came at the expense of economic growth in the United States.
  • Because of advances in technology, innovation and significant improvements in U.S. productivity, America's share of total world output has remained remarkably constant at a little more than 25 percent.

Source: Mark J. Perry, "United States Share of World GDP Remarkably Constant," Carpe Diem, November 19, 2009.

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