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Globalization, Growth and Distribution in Spain 1500-1913

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  • Jeffrey G. Williamson

    ()
    (Harvard University and NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH)

  • Joan R. Rosés
  • Kevin H. O'Rourke

Abstract

The endogenous growth literature has explored the transition from a Malthusian world where real wages, living standards and labor productivity are all linked to factor endowments, to one where (endogenous) productivity change embedded in modern industrial growth breaks that link. Recently, economic historians have presented evidence from England showing that the dramatic reversal in distributional trends --from a steep secular fall in wage-land rent ratios before 1800 to a steep secular rise thereafter – must be explained both by industrial revolutionary growth forces and by global forces that opened up the English economy to international trade. This paper explores whether and how the relationship was different for Spain, a country which had relatively poor productivity growth in agriculture and low living standards prior to 1800, was a late-comer to industrialization afterwards, and adopted very restrictive policies towards imports for much of the 19th century. The failure of Spanish wage-rental ratios to undergo a sustained rise after 1840 can be attributed to the delayed fall in relative agricultural prices (due to those protective policies) and to the decline in Spanish manufacturing productivity after 1898.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC) in its series Working Papers with number 08-05.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:afc:wpaper:08-05

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  1. Clark, Gregory, 2002. "Land rental values and the agrarian economy: England and Wales, 1500 1914," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(03), pages 281-308, December.
  2. Gregory Clark, 2001. "The Long March of History: Farm Laborers Wages in England 1208-1850," Levine's Working Paper Archive 625018000000000238, David K. Levine.
  3. O'Rourke, Kevin H. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2002. "After Columbus: Explaining Europe'S Overseas Trade Boom, 1500 1800," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(02), pages 417-456, June.
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