Growth Rates and National Wealth

… a core concept in Macroeconomic Policy

Click for MRU video

Click for MRU video

Concept description

This concept examines the impact of growth rates on a country’s GDP.

In introducing his video (reference below and link to right) Alex Tabarrok says:

“In the first video in this section on The Wealth of Nations and Economic Growth, you learned a basic fact of economic wealth – that countries can vary widely in standard of living. Specifically, you learned how variations in real GDP per capita can set countries leagues apart from one another. Today, we’ll continue on that road of differences, and ask yet another question. How can we explain wealth disparities between countries? The answer? Growth rates.

“And in this video, you’ll learn all about the ins-and-outs of measuring growth rates. For one, you’ll learn how to visualize growth properly – examining growth in real GDP per capita on a ratio scale. Then, here comes the fun part: you’ll also take a dive into the growth of the US economy over time. It’s a little bit like time travel. You’ll transport yourself to different periods in the country’s economic history: 1845, 1880, the Roaring Twenties, and much more. As you transport yourself to those times, you’ll also see how the economies of other countries stack up in comparison. You’ll see why the Indian economy now is like a trip back to the US of 1880. You’ll see why China today is like the America of the Jazz Age. (You’ll even see why living in Italy today is related to a time when Atari was popular in the US!)

“In keeping with our theme, though, we won’t just offer you a trip through ages past. Because by the end of this video, you’ll also have the answer to one vital question: if the US had grown at an even higher rate, where would we be by now? The magnitude of the answer will surprise you, we’re sure. But then, that surprise is in the video.”

MRU practice questions

See, accessed 22 April 2016.

  1. Since 1800, real GDP per capita in the United States has doubled roughly every


Alex Tabarrok, Growth Rates are Crucial, Marginal Revolution University, at, accessed 22 April 2016.

Atlas topic and subject

Wealth of Nations and Economic Growth (core topic) in Macroeconomic Policy.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 22 April 2016.

Image: Alex Tabarrok, Growth Rates are Crucial, Marginal Revolution University, at, accessed 22 April 2016.