Growth and structural change in Spain, 1850-2000
Long run economic progress in modern Spain is assessed in this paper and its comparative performance placed in historical perspective. Over one and a half centuries, income per person rose 15 times. Three main phases can be established: 1850-1950, 1951-1974 and 1975-2000. The finding of growth continuity between mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth century is at odds with the widespread view of a nineteenth century of failure and a successful twentieth century. Spain underperformed in the long run mostly due to its sluggish growth in the hundred years up to 1950. Higher destruction of human capital than of physical capital during the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath help explain her weaker post-World War II performance. Catching up took place in the late twentieth century, in which the years 1959-74 stand out. Structural change contributed significantly to growth acceleration while lack of exposition to international competition represents a recurrent element of retardation.
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