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Breaking with natural constraints: provincial grain yields in Spain 1750-2009

Author

Listed:
  • Carlos Santiago-Caballero

    (Universidad Carlos III Madrid)

Abstract

"This paper estimates the yields for five grains in 33 provinces of Spain in the mid eighteenth century. The results show that yields were higher in the north of the country, and that the most fertile provinces of Spain were not far behind the most advanced agricultural regions of the world. Average wheat yields in Spain remained stagnant between 1750 and the late nineteenth century when they doubled just to remain stagnant again until the modernization of the primary sector in the 1960s. Our results show that in the very long run yields between provinces tended to convergence, and that it was from the 1960s when the traditional differences in provincial yields began to disappear. The use of artificial fertilizers or new wheat strains were key improvements that helped low yield provinces to break with severe natural constrains such as the lack of rainfall or low quality soils."

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos Santiago-Caballero, 2012. "Breaking with natural constraints: provincial grain yields in Spain 1750-2009," Working Papers 12015, Economic History Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehs:wpaper:12015
    as

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    File URL: http://www.ehs.org.uk/dotAsset/2280b599-c8d2-48a2-8a32-7f6c1069643e.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Santiago-Caballero, Carlos, 2011. "Income inequality in central Spain, 1690-1800," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 83-96, January.
    2. Robert C. Allen, 2009. "Agricultural productivity and rural incomes in England and the Yangtze Delta, c.1620-c.1820 -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 62(3), pages 525-550, August.
    3. Mironov, Boris & A'Hearn, Brian, 2008. "Russian Living Standards under the Tsars: Anthropometric Evidence from the Volga," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(03), pages 900-929, September.
    4. Simpson, James, 1989. "La produccion agraria y el consumo español en el siglo XIX," Revista de Historia Económica, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(02), pages 355-388, September.
    5. Overton, Mark, 1990. "Re-estimating Crop Yields from Probate Inventories: A Comment," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(04), pages 931-935, December.
    6. Michael Turner, 1982. "Agricultural Productivity in England in the Eighteenth Century: Evidence from Crop Yields," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 35(4), pages 489-510, November.
    7. Miguel Ángel Bringas Gutiérrez, 2000. "La productividad de los factores en la agricultura española (1752-1935)," Estudios de Historia Económica, Banco de España;Estudios de Historia Económica Homepage, number 39, December.
    8. Philip T. Hoffman, 1988. "Institutions and Agriculture in Old Regime France," Politics & Society, , vol. 16(2-3), pages 241-264, June.
    9. Vicente Pinilla Navarro, 2004. "Sobre la agricultura y el crecimiento económico en España (1800-1935)," Historia Agraria. Revista de Agricultura e Historia Rural, Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria, issue 34, pages 137-162, december.
    10. Nicolini, Esteban A., 2007. "Was Malthus right? A VAR analysis of economic and demographic interactions in pre-industrial England," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(01), pages 99-121, April.
    11. Overton, Mark, 1979. "Estimating Crop Yields from Probate Inventories: An Example from EastAnglia, 1585–1735," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(02), pages 363-378, June.
    12. Allen, Robert C., 1988. "Inferring Yields from Probate Inventories," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(01), pages 117-125, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Yields; Agriculture; Grain; Convergence;

    JEL classification:

    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N53 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N54 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - Europe: 1913-

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