Proposal preview

Building a Global History of Economic Divergence

This panel will reexamine 18th and 19th Century global economic divergence—which led to the ascendancy of Western Europe over other traditional powers—from a truly global perspective. Technical work in this area focuses, more often than not, on one binary comparison: China and Western Europe, Japan and Western Europe, the Middle East and Western Europe, and so on. The primary goal of this panel is to bring these comparative fields into serious dialogue with each other, something that has largely been absent up to this point. Such dialogue will allow scholars to consider whether, and to what extent, the theories that have gained acceptance within a specific binary can contribute to a more general narrative and framework of global divergence. At the same time, approaching the question from a truly global perspective will help scholars develop a sharper sense of the idiosyncrasies of each regional economy, thereby facilitating the production of more analytically rigorous regional history.


  • Taisu Zhang, Yale Law School,,

Session members

  • Debin Ma, LSE,
  • Timur Kuran, Duke University,
  • Kaoru Sugihara, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies,
  • Steven Pincus, Yale University,
  • Peter Perdue, Yale University,
  • Taisu Zhang, Yale Law School,
  • Prasannan Parthasarathi, Boston College,
  • Bozhong Li, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology,

Proposed discussant(s)

  • Prasannan Parthasarathi, Boston College,