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The rise and fall of Spain (1270–1850)

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  • CARLOS ÁLVAREZ-NOGAL
  • LEANDRO PRADOS DE LA ESCOSURA

Abstract

Two distinctive regimes are distinguished in Spain over half-a-millennium. A first one (1270s-1590s) corresponds to a high land-labour ratio frontier economy, pastoral, trade-oriented, and led by towns. Wages and food consumption were relatively high. Sustained per capita growth occurred from the Reconquest’s end (1264) to the Black Death (1340s) and resumed from the 1390s only broken by late-15th century turmoil. A second regime (1600s-1810s) corresponds to a more agricultural and densely populated low-wage economy which grew along a lower path. Contrary to preindustrial Western Europe, Spain achieved her highest living standards in the 1340s, not by mid-15th century. Although its population toll was lower, the Plague had a more damaging impact on Spain and, far from releasing non-existent demographic pressure, destroyed the equilibrium between scarce population and abundant resources. Pre-1350 per capita income was reached by the late 16th century but only overcome after 1820.
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Suggested Citation

  • Carlos Álvarez-Nogal & Leandro Prados De La Escosura, 2013. "The rise and fall of Spain (1270–1850)," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 66(1), pages 1-37, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ehsrev:v:66:y:2013:i:1:p:1-37
    DOI: 10.1111/ehr.2013.66.issue-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. de la Escosura, Leandro Prados, 2007. "Growth and structural change in Spain, 1850–2000: a european perspective," Revista de Historia Económica, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(01), pages 147-181, January.
    2. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro & Rosés, Joan R., 2009. "The Sources of Long-Run Growth in Spain, 1850-2000," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(04), pages 1063-1091, December.
    3. Jan Luiten van Zanden, 2005. "Una estimación del crecimiento económico en la Edad Moderna," Investigaciones de Historia Económica (IHE) Journal of the Spanish Economic History Association, Asociacion Espa–ola de Historia Economica, vol. 2, pages 9-38.
    4. 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.
    5. van Zanden, Jan L., 1999. "Wages and the standard of living in Europe, 1500 1800," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 175-197, August.
    6. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 2000. "International Comparisons of Real Product, 1820-1990: An Alternative Data Set," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 1-41, January.
    7. Llopis, Enrique & Jerez, Miguel & Álvaro, Adoración & Fernández, Eva, 2000. "Índices de precios de la zona noroccidental de Castilla y León, 1518–1650," Revista de Historia Económica, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(03), pages 665-684, December.
    8. Jan Luiten van Zanden & Bas van Leeuwen, 2011. "The Character of growth before 'modern economics growth'? The GDP of Holland between 1347 and 1807," Working Papers 0004, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
    9. Prados de la Escosura Leandro, 2003. "El progreso económico de España (1850-2000)," Books, Fundacion BBVA / BBVA Foundation, edition 1, number 201136.
    10. de la Escosura, Leandro Prados, 1984. "El comercio hispano-britanico en los siglos XVIII y XIX. I. Reconstruccion," Revista de Historia Económica, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(02), pages 113-162, September.
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    JEL classification:

    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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