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Forced Labour in Franco's Spain: Workforce Supply, Profits and Productivity


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  • Fernando Mendiola Gonzalo

    (Department of Economics, Universidad Pública de Navarra, and Research Group on the History of Prison and Punitive Institutions)


This article analyses the forced labour system created in Spain during the Civil War and maintained during the Francoist dictatorship, paying special attention to the economic logic that led the state and private enterprises to draw a profit from this kind of punishment. In order to deal with this question in depth my research has been focused on three main aspects: the workforce supply in a war economy and in a context of reconstruction, the margins of profit produced by this kind of labour in comparison with free labour, and the problems related to productivity levels. Through consideration of these questions I present an overview of the main research in the subject and make suggestions for new goals in Spanish economic history concerned with this kind of repressive practice, bringing it into line with international historiography on the forced labour economy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Historical Economics Society (EHES) in its series Working Papers with number 0004.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0004

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Keywords: forced labour; war economy; Spanish Civil War; Franco’s Dictatorship; prison economy;

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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.
  2. Fernando Mendiola Gonzalo, 2010. "El impacto de los trabajos forzados en la economía Vasconavarra (1937 ‐ 1945)," Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) 1005, Asociación Española de Historia Económica.
  3. Javier Silvestre & Vicente Pinilla & Mª Isabel Ayuda, 2011. "The Labor Market Integration of Migrants: Barcelona, 1930," Economic Reports 02-2011, FEDEA.
  4. Spoerer, Mark, 2004. "Enterprise in the Period of Fascism in Europe. Edited by Harold James and Jakob Tanner. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002. Pp. xii, 283. $74.95," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(01), pages 252-253, March.
  5. Mark Spoerer, 2005. "Motivations, contraintes et marges de manœuvre des entreprises allemandes dans l'emploi de travailleurs forcés pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale," Histoire, économie & société, Programme National Persée, vol. 24(4), pages 545-553.
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Cited by:
  1. Leandro Prados de la Escosura, 2011. "Human development in Africa : a long-run perspective," Working Papers in Economic History wp11-09, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Historia Económica e Instituciones.
  2. Geraldine David & Kim Oosterlinck, 2012. "War, Inflation, Monetary Reform and the Art Market," Working Papers 0012, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  3. Giovanni Federico, 2011. "A Tale of Two Oceans: Market Integration Over the High Seas, 1800-1940," Working Papers 0011, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).


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