Were Spanish migrants attracted by industrial agglomerations? An analysis for the interwar years in the light of the new economic geography
In this paper we examine whether access to markets had a significant influence on migration choices of Spanish internal migrants in the inter-war years. We perform a structural contrast of a New Economic Geography model that focus on the forward linkage that links workers location choice with the geography of industrial production, one of the centripetal forces that drive agglomeration in the NEG models. The results highlight the presence of this forward linkage in the Spanish economy of the inter-war period. That is, we prove the existence of a direct relation between workers localization decisions and the market potential of the host regions. In addition, the direct estimation of the values associated with key parameters in the NEG model allows us to simulate the migratory flows derived from different scenarios of the relative size of regions and the distances between them. We show that in Spain the power of attraction of the agglomerations grew as they increased in size, but the high elasticity estimated for the migration costs reduced the intensity of the migratory flows. This could help to explain the apparently low intensity of internal migrations in Spain until its upsurge during the 1920s. This also explains the geography of migrations in Spain during this period, which hardly affected the regions furthest from the large industrial agglomerations (i.e., regions such as Andalusia, Estremadura and Castile-La Mancha) but had an intense effect on the provinces nearest to the principal centres of industrial development.
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