Credit Suisse have just released their annual The Credit Suisse Global Investment Returns Sourcebook 2013, written by Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh, and Mike Staunton.
An interesting chart (below) in the report shows the proportional equity capitalisations of all major markets since 1900.
According to the report,
In 1900, the UK was the world’s largest equity market, followed by the USA, then France and Germany. Japan was then just a tiny emerging market. Early in the 20th century, the UK was overtaken by the USA, which remained the dominant market throughout, save for a brief 3-year period in the late 1980s, when Japan became the world’s largest equity market. At its peak, Japan accounted for 45% of the total market capitalization of our 22 countries. Then the Japanese bubble burst and, by the end of 2012, Japan’s proportion had fallen to just 8%, while the USA still accounted for 51%.