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- PublicationAccès libreA Global Compass for the Great Divergence: Emissions vs. Production Centers of Gravity 1820‐2008We construct the world's centers of gravity for human population, GDP and CO2 emissions by taking the best out of five recognized data sources covering the last two centuries. On the basis of a novel distorsion‐free representation of these centers of gravity, we find a radical Western shift of GDP and CO2 emissions centers in the 19th century, in sharp contrast with the stability of the demographic center of gravity. Both GDP and emissions trends are reversed in the first half of the 20th century, after World War I for CO2 emissions, after World War II for GDP. Since then, both centers are moving eastward at an accelerating speed. These patterns are perfectly consistent with the lead of Western countries starting the industrial revolution, the gradual replacement of coal by oil and gas as alternative sources of energy, and the progressive catch up of Asian countries in the recent past.
- PublicationAccès libreIs the World's Economic Center of Gravity Already in Asia?This paper proposes a simple measure of the World's Economic Center of Gravity (WECG) based on national GDP figures and the geographical location of the world's most important cities. This measure makes it possible to characterize the location of economic activity around the globe. It turns out that, over the 1975-2004 period, the WECG has shifted towards Asia, and the location of economic activity has become more evenly spread. On average, the distance to the WECG, which is highly correlated with the remoteness indicator frequently used in the trade gravity literature, has decreased more in Asian cities (-12%) and increased more in European cities (+16%).