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Was land reform necessary? Access to land in Spain, 1860 to 1931

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  • Juan Carmona Pidal

    ()

  • Joan R. Rosés

    ()

Abstract

In Spain, land reform involving the break-up of large southern estates was a central issue during the first decades of the twentieth century. It was justified on the grounds of economic efficiency, social equity and the distribution of political power. This paper uses new provincial data on landless workers, land prices and agrarian wages to consider if government intervention was desirable because land redistribution did not take place. Our evidence shows that the relative amount of landless workers decreased largely from 1890 to 1930. This was due to two interrelated market forces: structural change that drained rural population and a decrease in the ratio between land prices and rural wages, which made land cheaper for landless workers. So, given that rural markets did not restrict access to land, the government-initiated land redistribution had no clear-cut justification.

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Paper provided by Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones in its series Working Papers in Economic History with number wp11-01.

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Date of creation: Feb 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cte:whrepe:wp11-01

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Keywords: Land markets; Structural change; Land prices; Landless peasants;

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  1. Leandro Prados de la Escosura & Joan R. Roses, 2009. "Human Capital and Economic Growth in Spain, 1850-2000," Working Papers in Economic History wp09-06, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones.
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