Agglomeration and labour productivity in Spanish industry: a long-term analysis
This paper analyzes the relationship between spatial density of economic activity and interregional differences in the productivity of industrial labour in Spain during the period 1860-1999. In the spirit of Ciccone and Hall (1996) and Ciccone (2002), we analyze the evolution of this relationship over the long term in Spain. Using data on the period 1860-1999 we show the existence of an agglomeration effect linking the density of economic activity with labour productivity in the industry. This effect was present since the beginning of the industrialization process in the middle of the 19th century but has been decreasing over time. The estimated elasticity of labour productivity with respect to employment density was close to 8% in the subperiod 1860-1900, reduces to a value of around 7% in the subperiod 1914-1930, to 4% in the subperiod 1965-1979 and becomes insignificant in the final subperiod 1985-1999. At the end of the period analyzed there is no evidence of the existence of net agglomeration effects in the industry. This result could be explained by an important increase in the congestion effects in large industrial metropolitan areas that would have compensated the centripetal or agglomeration forces at work. Furthermore, this result is also consistent with the evidence of a dispersion of industrial activity in Spain during the last decades.
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