|Institutions||University of Groningen|
|Alma mater||University of Cambridge|
Angus Maddison (born 1926) is a British economist. He is Emeritus Professor at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Groningen (RUG).
Born in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, Maddison attended the University of Cambridge as an undergraduate. After attending McGill University and Johns Hopkins University as a graduate student, he decided not to pursue a Ph.D. and returned to the United Kingdom to teach for a year at the University of St. Andrews.
In 1953, Maddison joined the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC), and afterwards became Head of the OEEC Economics Division. In 1963, when the OEEC became the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Maddison became Assistant Director of the Economic Development Division. Soon thereafter, he left the OECD, and spent the next 15 years in a series of consulting appointments during which he returned to the OECD for four years.
In 1969-1971 Maddison worked at the Harvard University Centre for International Affairs. Maddison also held the position of policy advisor for various institutions, including the governments of Ghana and Pakistan. In addition, he visited many other countries and often directly advised the government leaders of countries such as Brazil, Guinea, Mongolia, the USSR and Japan. This enabled him to gain a unique insight into the factors that determine economic growth and prosperity.
In 1978 Maddison was appointed Professor at the University of Groningen. Maddison was a pioneer in the field of the construction of national accounts, where a country’s accounts are calculated back in periods of several decades all the way to the year 1. To this end he combined modern research techniques with his own extensive knowledge of economic history and in particular countries’ performances in the field of GDP per capita. His work resulted in a deep new understanding of the reasons why some countries have become rich whereas others have remained poor (or have succumbed to poverty). In this vital field, Maddison is regarded as the world’s most prominent scholar.
During the past two decades, Maddison has mainly focussed on the construction of data and analysis further back in time. He has, for example, published an authoritative study on economic growth in China over the past twenty centuries. This study has strongly boosted the historical debate about the strengths and weaknesses of China and Europe as two of the world’s leading economic forces. Furthermore, his estimates regarding the per capita income in the Roman Empire are regarded by many as a breakthrough in economic historiography. He was also author of many important works of historical economic analysis, including The World Economy: Historical Statistics and several other reference books on the same topic.
Maddison currently lives in Thourotte (France), but still has strong connections with the RUG. He is the joint founder and intellectual leader of the Groningen Growth and Development Centre a research group within the Faculty of Economics that focuses on long-term economic growth. The databases maintained by Maddison and his current or former colleagues, which now include virtually every country in the world, form one of the most important sources for the analysis of long-term economic growth and are used throughout the world by academics and policy analysts.
Maddison received a royal decoration as Commander in the Netherlands Order of Orange Nassau as he turned 80, and in October 2007 Maddison received an honorary doctorate at Hitotsubashi University, Japan.