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The Rise and Fall of Spain (1270-1850)

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

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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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8369.

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Date of creation: Apr 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8369
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Prados de la Escosura Leandro, 2003. "El progreso económico de España (1850-2000)," Books, Fundacion BBVA / BBVA Foundation, edition 1, number 201136.
  4. 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, Asociación Española de Historia Económica, vol. 2, pages 9-38.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
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