IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

On the causes of economic growth in Europe: why did agricultural labour productivity not converge between 1950 and 2005?


  • Miguel Martin-Retortillo

    () (Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain)

  • Vicente Pinilla

    () (Universidad Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain)


The objective of this study is to make a further contribution to the debate on the causes of economic growth in the European Continent. It explains why agricultural labour productivity differences did not converge between 1950 and 2005 in Europe. We propose an econometric model, one combining both proximate and fundamental causes of economic growth. The results show that the continuous exit of labour power from the sector, coupled with the increased use of productive factors originating in other sectors of the economy, caused the efficiency of agricultural workers to rise. However, we offer a complete explanation of the role played by institutions and geographical factors. Thus, we detect a direct and inverse relation between membership of the EU and the Communist bloc and the productivity of agricultural labour. In addition, strong support for agriculture affected productivity negatively.

Suggested Citation

  • Miguel Martin-Retortillo & Vicente Pinilla, 2015. "On the causes of economic growth in Europe: why did agricultural labour productivity not converge between 1950 and 2005?," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 9(3), pages 359-396, september.
  • Handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:9:y:2015:i:3:p:359-396

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to journal subscribers

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item


    Agricultural labour productivity European agriculture European economic history Causes of economic growth;

    JEL classification:

    • N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N54 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:9:y:2015:i:3:p:359-396. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.