Historical national accounts data are widely used and analysed in the economic historiography of most European and American countries. Such data are less conventional in Asian historiography, apart from India and Japan. There certainly is a dearth of studies providing comparable quantitative evidence on economic growth and standards of living in Asia (Reynolds, 1985). The use of national income per capita as an indicator of the standard of living is not uncontroversial (Scott, 1990). Nor is quantitative analysis always more precise and meaningful than qualitative analysis and assessment. But it is difficult to deny that, “Quantified propositions are easier to check and falsify than qualitative ones and hence they are useful in sharpening the debate on issues of comparative performance,” (Maddison, 1991: 27).