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Spanish Agriculture in the Little Divergence

Author

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  • Álvarez-Nogal, Carlos
  • Prados de la Escosura, Leandro
  • Santiago-Caballero, Carlos

Abstract

This paper explores the role of agriculture in Spain's contribution to the little divergence in Europe. On the basis of tithes, long-run trends in agricultural output are drawn. After a long period of relative stability, output suffered a severe contraction during 1570-1620, followed by stagnation to 1650, and steady expansion thereafter. Output per head shifted from a relatively high to a low path that persisted until the nineteenth century. The decline in agricultural output per head and per worker from a relatively high level contributed to Spain falling behind and, hence, to the Little Divergence in Europe. Output per worker moved along labour force in agriculture over the long run, supporting the depiction of Spain as a frontier economy. Institutional factors, in a context of financial and monetary instability and war, along climatic anomalies, provide explanatory hypotheses that deserve further research.

Suggested Citation

  • Álvarez-Nogal, Carlos & Prados de la Escosura, Leandro & Santiago-Caballero, Carlos, 2016. "Spanish Agriculture in the Little Divergence," CEPR Discussion Papers 11125, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11125
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. van Zanden, Jan Luiten & van Leeuwen, Bas, 2012. "Persistent but not consistent: The growth of national income in Holland 1347–1807," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 119-130.
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    Cited by:

    1. N. Palma, 2019. "The existence and persistence of liquidity effects: Evidence from a large-scale historical natural experiment," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 1904, Economics, The University of Manchester.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    agriculture; early modern Spain; labour productivity; little divergence; tithes;

    JEL classification:

    • N53 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: Pre-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

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