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Economic crisis and democratic consolidation in Spain, 1973-82

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  • Harrison, Joseph

Abstract

This Spain's transition from dictatorship to democracy after the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975 has been viewed in many ways. Political historians and political scientists generally deem it an outstanding success. Yet many economists and economic historians have been remarkably critical of the process. This article analyses how the long-drawn-out process of democratic consolidation caused policy-makers to neglect other unresolved issues, not least the country's enduring economic crisis which dragged on from the mid 1970s to the mid 1980s. Lack of political legitimacy, weak governments and, to a certain extent, the perceived requirement for consensus held back the Madrid authorities from tackling head on many of Spain's fundamental problems, especially in the field of economic policy. From the beginnings of the crisis in 1973 until the summer of 1977, when voters went to the polls for the first time in more than four decades, Spain was governed by a series of weak and unstable administrations. In addition, the political authorities were seriously challenged by a resurgent opposition. After June 1977, against a disturbing background of low growth, rising inflation and incipient inflation, the minority centrist government of Adolfo Suárez finally resolved to take firm action.

Suggested Citation

  • Harrison, Joseph, 2006. "Economic crisis and democratic consolidation in Spain, 1973-82," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wp06-10, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
  • Handle: RePEc:cte:whrepe:wp06-10
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