The Spanish 1898 disaster: the drift towards national-protectionism
An econometric analysis of Spanish aggregate and sectoral data reveals that the loss of the last colonial possessions in 1898 was not, in fact an economic disaster of the catastrophic proportions sorne traditional historians had held. Both at the aggregate level and in the sectors most directly involved in the colonial trade, the events of 1898 were not a specially relevant watershed. However, the nationalistic sentiment, and the climate of public opinion created by the defeat in the 1898 Spanish-American War induced a favorable institutional framework for the adoption of autarkic measures, especially high tariffs. This produced in subsequent years a progressive separation of the Spanish economy from international markets. This indirect and institutional effect, rather than the direct loss from the war itself, was the real economic disaster of 1898.
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