People love to cherry-pick statistics to show that the US, or Europe, is winning the growth game. That got me curious: if you look at all the possible growth periods, who's ahead (most)? Short answer: no clear winner. The results look pretty random. Over the longest periods, Europe is consistently ahead. But some shorter but still lengthy periods give the US the advantage.
It's interesting to note that the two stretches showing US predominance begin in 1982 (Reagan) and 1992 (Clinton). Both seem to result from big two-year leaps—82-84, and 92-94. Go figure.
Change in real GDP per capita (PPP), difference between EU and US
US growth percentage minus EU15 growth percentage (positive numbers=US ahead)
Starting years at left, ending years, top. Gray is >29 years. Outline is >19 years.
Here's the same table expressed as a percentage difference.
(US growth %-EU growth%)/EU growth %
All data is from the OECD. I just did the arithmetic.