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Labour market response to globalisation: Spain, 1880-1913


  • Betrán, Concha
  • Pons, Maria A.


This paper analyses the impact of globalisation (trade and migration) on the Spanish labour market between 1880 and 1913 by examining the influence that globalisation factors had on agricultural and industrial wages. Our results show that the nineteenth century grain invasion had a negative impact on agricultural wages, whereas the fall in wheat prices did not benefit industry workers. We also found that migration pushed up real agricultural and industrial wages. As agriculture was the main sector in the economy, the final impact was a wage decrease. The negative impact of trade on agricultural and industrial labour markets partly explains the trade policy response of "integral protection". However, other alternatives that would have been effective in raising living standards, such as migration policy, were not used.

Suggested Citation

  • Betrán, Concha & Pons, Maria A., 2011. "Labour market response to globalisation: Spain, 1880-1913," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 169-188, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:48:y:2011:i:2:p:169-188

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. George R. Boyer & Timothy J. Hatton, 1997. "Migration and Labour Market Integration in Late Nineteenth-Century England and Wales," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 50(4), pages 697-734, November.
    2. David Card, 2005. "Is the New Immigration Really so Bad?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(507), pages 300-323, November.
    3. Blanca Sánchez-Alonso, 2000. "European emigration in the late nineteenth century: the paradoxical case of Spain," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 53(2), pages 309-330, May.
    4. Simpson, James, 1997. "Did tariffs stifle Spanish agriculture before 1936?," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 65-87, April.
    5. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "Globalization and History: The Evolution of a Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650592, July.
    6. O'Rourke, Kevin H., 1997. "The European Grain Invasion, 1870–1913," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(04), pages 775-801, December.
    7. Martínez, Domingo Gallego & Navarro, Vicente Pinilla, 1996. "Del librecambio matizado al proteccionismo selectivo: el comercio exterior de productos agrarios y alimentos en España entre 1849 y 1935," Revista de Historia Económica, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(02), pages 371-420, September.
    8. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1991. "Integrated and Segmented Labor Markets: Thinking in Two Sectors," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(02), pages 413-425, June.
    9. Michael Todaro, 1980. "Internal Migration in Developing Countries: A Survey," NBER Chapters,in: Population and Economic Change in Developing Countries, pages 361-402 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Christian Dustmann & Francesca Fabbri & Ian Preston, 2005. "The Impact of Immigration on the British Labour Market," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(507), pages 324-341, November.
    11. Hatton, Timothy J & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 1992. "What Explains Wage Gaps between Farm and City? Exploring the Todaro Model with American Evidence, 1890-1941," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(2), pages 267-294, January.
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