This Great Graphic was tweeted by Sony Kapoor. It shows GDP per capita for four large European countries and Japan. Per capita takes on increased importance given demographic considerations, like the actual decline in Japan’s population.
On a per capita basis, it is difficult to see the lost decades many often attribute to Japan, though obviously, it is not rising like it did in the 1970s and ’80s. Since 2000, it has done as well as the UK and nearly as well as Germany. In fact, the UK’s performance since the early 1990s has been superior and even with the crisis, per capita GDP is essentially as high as Japan and German, though as recently as the late 1980s, was the worst among these selected countries.
In this chart, Italy has fared the worst. The question in Italy is can Renzi arrest the deterioration? France has also under-performed. It has notably lagged behind Germany. We have argued that this divergence between France and Germany has important political implications.