Skip to main content Accessibility help

Estimating Economic Growth in the Middle East since 1820


This study provides, for the first time, an overview of the growth record of the Middle East since 1820 and inserts it into a comparative framework. GDP per capita estimates are offered for individual countries in the region for the benchmark years of 1913, 1870, and 1820. The Middle East began to participate in modern economic growth during the nineteenth century. Yet, per capita income differences with the high-income regions of the world widened considerably until World War I. In the twentieth century, the most important single factor contributing to increases in per capita incomes was oil.

This is a subject about which we know little and where, in all likelihood, our knowledge will not grow greatly.Charles IssawiIssawi, Economic History of the Middle East, p. 103.

Hide All
Akarli Ahmet. 2000. “Agriculture in Ottoman Macedonia, 1870–1910.” In Mediterranean Responses to Globalization before 1950, edited by Ş. Pamuk and J. Williamson, 10933. London and New York: Routledge Press
Antras Pol, and Hans-Joachim Voth. (2003): “Factor Prices and Productivity Growth During the British Industrial Revolution.” Explorations in Economic History 40 5277.
Behar Cem. 1996. The Population of the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, 1500–1927, State Institute of Statistics, Ankara
Berov Ljuben. (1976): “Le salaire des Ouvriers Qualifies dans les Pays Balkaniques au cours de la période du Capitalisme Manufacturier et de la Révolution Industrielle.” Etudes Balkaniques 14, no. 1 3054.
Berov Ljuben. (1979): “Wages in the Balkan Lands During the Period of Manufacturing Capitalism and the Industrial Revolution.” Bulgarian Historical Review 7, no. 1 91115.
Berov Ljuben. (1987): “Trends in the Level and Structure of the Incomes of the Working People in the Balkan Countries in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries up to 1912.” Bulgarian Historical Review 15, no. 4 6583.
Boratav Korkut, Gündüz A. Ökçün, and Şevket Pamuk. (1985): “Ottoman Wages and the World Economy, 1839–1913.” Review, Fernand Braudel Center 8, no. 3 379406.
Bulutay Tuncer, Nuri Yildirim, and Yahya S. Tezel. 1974. Turkiye Milli Geliri, 1923–1948. Ankara: University of Ankara Publications,
Egypt Ministere des Finances. 1915. Annuaire Statistique de L'Egypte, 1914. Cairo,
Eldem Vedat. 1970. Osmanli Imparatorlugunun Iktisadi Sartlari Hakkinda Bir Tetkik. Istanbul: Is Bankasi Yayinlari,
Guran Tevfik, ed. 1997. Agricultural Statistics of Turkey during the Ottoman Period. Ankara: State Institute of Statistics,
Guran Tevfik, ed. 1997. The First Statistical Yearbook of the Ottoman Empire, 1897. Ankara: State Institute of Statistics
Guran Tevfik, ed. 2003. Ottoman Financial Statistics, Budgets, 1841–1918. Ankara: State Institute of Statistics
Hansen Bent. (1979): “Income and Consumption in Egypt, 1886/1887 to 1937.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 10, no. 1 2747.
Hansen Bent, and Michael Wattleworth. (1978): “Agricultural Output and Consumption of Basic Foods in Egypt, 1886/7–1967/8.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 9, no. 3 44969.
Heston Alan, Robert Summers, and Bettina Aten. 2002; “Penn World Tables, Version 6.1, Center for International Comparisons at the University of Pennsylvania”,
Himadeh Said. 1936. Economic Organization of Syria and Lebanon. Beirut: American Press,
Issawi Charles, ed. The Economic History of the Middle East, 1800–1914. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966.
Issawi Charles, ed. The Economic History of Iran, 1800–1914. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971.
Issawi Charles, ed. 1981. “Egypt, Iran and Turkey, 1800–1970.” In Disparities in Economic Development since the Industrial Revolution, edited by Paul Bairoch and Maurice Levy Leboyer, 22752. New York: St. Martin's Press,
Issawi Charles, ed. 1982. An Economic History of the Middle East and North Africa. Columbia University Press,
Issawi Charles, ed. 1988. The Fertile Crescent, A Documentary Economic History. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Kostelenos ., S Petmezas, D Vasiliou, E Kounaris, and M Sfakianakis. Gross Domestic Product 1830–1939, Sources of Economic History of Modern Greece: Quantitative Data and Statistical Series, 1830–1939. Athens: Historical Archives of the National Bank of Greece, (forthcoming).
Lains Pedro. (2002): “Southern European Economic Backwardness Revisited: The Role of Open Economy Forces in Portugal and the Balkans, 1870–1913.” Scandinavian Economic History Review 50, no. 1 2443.
Mc vedy, Colin, and Richard Jones. 1978. Atlas of World Population History. Harmondsworth, New York: Penguin Books
Maddison Angus. 1995. Monitoring the World Economy, 1820–1992. Paris: OECD Publications
Maddison Angus. 2001. The World Economy, A Millennial Perspective. Paris: OECD Development Studies Centre
Maddison Angus. 2003. The World Economy: Historical Statistics. Paris: OECD Development Studies Centre
Metzer Jacob. 1998. The Divided Economy of Palestine. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press
Okyar Osman. (1987): “A New Look at the Problem of Economic Growth in the Ottoman Empire, 1800–1914.” The Journal of European Economic History 16, no. 1 749.
Owen Roger, and Şevket Pamuk. 1998. A History of the Middle East Economies in the Twentieth Century. London and Cambridge, MA: Tauris Publishers and Harvard University Press,
Ozel Isik. 1997. “The Economy of Turkey in the Late Ottoman and Republican Periods: A Quantitative Analysis.” unpublished M.A. thesis, Ataturk Institute for Modern Turkish History, Bogazici University,
Ozel Isik, and Şevket Pamuk. 1998. “Osmanlidan Cumhuriyete Kisi basina Uretim ve Milli Gelir.” In Yetmis Bes Yilda Paranin Seruveni, edited by Mustafa Sonmez, 8390. Istanbul: Tarih Vakfi,
Ömucur Süleyman, and Şevket Pamuk. (2002): “Real Wages and Standards of Living in the Ottoman Empire, 1469–1914.” This Journal 62, no. 2 293321.
Palairet Michael. The Balkan Economies, c. 1800–1914, Evolution without Development. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Pamuk Şevket. 1987 The Ottoman Empire and European Capitalism,1820–1913. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.
Pamuk Şevket. 2000. 500 Years of Prices and Wages in Istanbul and Other Cities. Ankara: State Institute of Statistics
Phelps rown, Henry, and Sheila V. Hopkins. 1962. “Seven Centuries of Building Wages.” In Essays in Economic History, edited by E. M. Carus-Wilson, 16878. London: St Martins Press,
Shaw J. Stanford. (1975): “The Nineteenth Century Ottoman Tax Reforms and Revenue System.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 6, no. 3 42159.
Summers Robert, and Alan Heston. (1991): “The Penn World Table (Mark5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons, 1950–1988.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 106 32768.
Peter Temin, (1997): “Two Views of the Industrial Revolution.” This Journal 57, no. 1 6382.
United Nations. 1955. Economic Developments in the Middle East, 1945 to 1954. New York,
Yousef Tarik. (2002): “Egypt's Growth Performance under Economic Liberalism: A Reassessment with New GDP Estimates, 1886–1945.” Review of Income and Wealth 48, no. 4 56179.
Yousef Tarik. (2004): “Development, Growth and Policy Reform in the Middle East and North Africa since 1950.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 18, no. 3 91116.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Economic History
  • ISSN: 0022-0507
  • EISSN: 1471-6372
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-economic-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed