A West African Experiment: Constructing a GDP Series for Colonial Ghana, 1891-1950

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


There has been a recent surge in research on long-term African development. For this research agenda to be fruitful and its theories tested, it is crucial to have consistent estimates of economic change. However, there is a lack of reliable time series data for the colonial period in Sub-Saharan Africa. This article contributes new time series data for the Gold Coast and Ghana between 1890 and 2010 and in particular a new GDP time series for Ghana for the years 1891–1957. The series implies a sustained period of economic expansion from the late nineteenth century. This suggests a revision of some prevalent truths about the history of economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, and points the way forward for expanding the database to cover the colonial period for other African economies.


External organisations
  • Simon Fraser University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic History
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)964-992
Number of pages29
JournalEconomic History Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes