In the course of my research I have been examining these days macroeconomic time series for per capital household consumption, using the databank of the WorldBank. The unit of measure was constant 2005 USD.
I got all shorts: smooth upward trends indicating a steadily increasing material well being on average; series with wild swings indicating socioeconomic turmoil, civil wars, coup d'eta's etc; series with an obvious structural shock in the level which then continued to grow at the same rate (for example Finland experienced such a shock when the Soviet Union collapsed); series suspiciously smoothly increasing, too smoothly to be believable and so suspect of being fake...
Unique among them, was Madagascar: its per capita consumption exhibited a steady downward trend for the period 1971-1996, although after that period the trend seems to (gradually) flatten out. Here is the plot:
Again the unique feature here is the almost constant downward trend. There were other countries that saw their consumption level collapsing in this period, but not in such a steady gradual manner, over a quarter of a century.
Does anybody have a clue as to what was happening in the period in this country? Madagascar was colonized by France in 1896 and obtained full independence in 1960. But of course there are many countries that were colonies and de-colonized around that period; none exhibited such behavior.