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Provincial grain yields in Spain, 1750-2009

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  • Carlos Santiago-Caballero

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Abstract

This paper estimates the yields for five grains in 33 provinces of Spain in the mid-18th century. The results show that yields were higher in the north of the country, and that the most fertile provinces of Spain were not far behind the most advanced agricultural regions of the world. Average wheat yields in Spain remained stagnant between 1750 and the late 19th century when they doubled, only to remain stagnant again until the modernisation of the primary sector in the 1960s. Our results show that, in the very long run, yields between provinces tended to converge, and this was the case until the 1960s when the traditional differences in provincial yields began to disappear. The use of artificial fertilisers or new wheat strains were key improvements that helped low yield provinces to break with severe natural constraints such as lack of rainfall or low-quality soils.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones in its series Working Papers in Economic History with number wp12-04.

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Date of creation: Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cte:whrepe:wp12-04

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Related research

Keywords: Yields; Agriculture; Grain; Convergence;

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References

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  1. Simpson, James, 1989. "La produccion agraria y el consumo español en el siglo XIX," Revista de Historia Económica, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(02), pages 355-388, September.
  2. Nicolini, Esteban A., 2007. "Was Malthus right? A VAR analysis of economic and demographic interactions in pre-industrial England," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 99-121, April.
  3. Álvarez-Nogal, Carlos & Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 2011. "The Rise and Fall of Spain (1270-1850)," CEPR Discussion Papers 8369, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Simpson,James, 1996. "Spanish Agriculture," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521496308, October.
  5. Carlos Santiago Caballero, 2010. "Income inequality in central Spain, 1690-1800," Working Papers in Economic History wp10-11, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones.
  6. Overton, Mark, 1990. "Re-estimating Crop Yields from Probate Inventories: A Comment," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(04), pages 931-935, December.
  7. Mironov, Boris & A'Hearn, Brian, 2008. "Russian Living Standards under the Tsars: Anthropometric Evidence from the Volga," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(03), pages 900-929, September.
  8. Overton, Mark, 1979. "Estimating Crop Yields from Probate Inventories: An Example from EastAnglia, 1585–1735," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(02), pages 363-378, June.
  9. Lvarez-Nogal, Carlos & Prados De La Escosura, Leandro, 2007. "The decline of Spain (1500 1850): conjectural estimates," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(03), pages 319-366, December.
  10. Allen, Robert C., 1988. "Inferring Yields from Probate Inventories," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(01), pages 117-125, March.
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