Amartya Sen revisited: trade, inequality and growth in central Spain, 1700-1800
This paper studies the effects of trade and inequality in central Spain during the eighteenth century, taking as case study the province of Guadalajara and the surrounding regions. The first part of the paper presents a specific factors model as theoretical framework that will later be applied to the empirical data. The second part introduces an analysis of income inequality in the province during the eighteenth century and concludes that inequality decreased, especially during the last third of the century. Finally the paper addresses this unexpected result and concludes that it was consequence of the success of the land reform carried out by the central government in the late 1760s. The reform was a success in Guadalajara thanks to the characteristics of its population and the lack of bargaining power of pressure groups. Following Sen’s ideas, the reduction in inequality meant that markets could work properly and that a majority and not only a few could take full advantage of the benefits of trade.
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