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Why Australia ProsperedThe Shifting Sources of Economic Growth$
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Ian W. McLean

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691154671

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691154671.001.0001

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Depression, Drought, and Federation

Depression, Drought, and Federation

(p.113) Chapter 6 Depression, Drought, and Federation
Why Australia Prospered

Ian W. McLean

Princeton University Press

This chapter talks about negative shocks from internal imbalance, external factors, and drought wrought havoc with the economy for more than a decade. Against this background of a major threat to prosperity, important changes occurred in the institutional framework with the federation of the Australian colonies in 1901. Though some recovery in economic fortunes occurred before the outbreak of war, it was short-lived. Per capita real GDP fell by 22 percent by 1895 and did not regain its 1889 peak for a full two decades. The approach adopted here includes a comparative perspective on Australians' reduced levels of prosperity between 1890 and 1914. Australia recorded the highest per capita income in the world for some period prior to the 1890s. The chapter shows how this achievement has never been repeated.

Keywords:   Australian colonies, Australian economy, drought, prosperity, GDP, per capita income, economic fortunes, war outbreak

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