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Comparison between Japanese and America GDP per Capita Growth

John Wickham and Thomas Bolland

Post World War II Japan's economy has been closely linked with the United States. Although a much smaller population Japan’s GDP per Capita in dollars matched the U.S. in 1987. Japan’s GDP per Capita in dollars remained ahead of the U.S. until 2000, only dropping below the U.S.’s GDP per Capita in dollars in 1998. Since 2000, Japan has seemingly struggled to raise its GDP per Capita above $43,0000, its highest point in the 1990’s, only being able to have it at $48,000 for 2011 and 2012, until sharply dropping of to $34,000 in 2015. What this graph doesn’t show is the immense volatility that Japan experienced when when seemingly growing and over taking the U.S. in GDP per Capita in dollars during the late 1980s and late 1990s.

When looking at the percentage change of GDP per capita, Japan is significantly more volatile than the United State. While Japan saw GDP growth between 1980 and 2000 where it surpassed the United States for GDP per capita. However, in 2001, the United States overtook Japan in largest GDP growth. However, this should come as no surprise as Japan saw their GDP per capita dip to -12.61 percent from it peak of 47.24 percent in 1987. This trend has continued to follow the stagnated japan economy as the growth percentage dropped to a new low in 2013 reaching -16.76 percent. This trend after all is indicative of the japanese economy since it ben to stagnate around 1998. Japan’s GDP made a come between 2004 and 2012 where Japan saw a slightly less volatile GDP percentage growth rate ranging from 8% to negative 4% and back. However in 2013 the japanese economy reverted back to it’s negative trend with a GDP percentage growth of -16% but interestingly enough spiked back to 12% in 2016. At this point it is tough to predict what will happen to the japanese economy due to its extreme volatility.