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Forced Labour in Franco's Spain: Workforce Supply, Profits and Productivity


  • Fernando Mendiola Gonzalo

    () (Department of Economics, Universidad Pública de Navarra, and Research Group on the History of Prison and Punitive Institutions)


This article analyses the forced labour system created in Spain during the Civil War and maintained during the Francoist dictatorship, paying special attention to the economic logic that led the state and private enterprises to draw a profit from this kind of punishment. In order to deal with this question in depth my research has been focused on three main aspects: the workforce supply in a war economy and in a context of reconstruction, the margins of profit produced by this kind of labour in comparison with free labour, and the problems related to productivity levels. Through consideration of these questions I present an overview of the main research in the subject and make suggestions for new goals in Spanish economic history concerned with this kind of repressive practice, bringing it into line with international historiography on the forced labour economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Fernando Mendiola Gonzalo, 2011. "Forced Labour in Franco's Spain: Workforce Supply, Profits and Productivity," Working Papers 0004, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
  • Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro & Rosés, Joan R., 2010. "Human capital and economic growth in Spain, 1850-2000," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 520-532, October.
    2. Javier Silvestre & Vicente Pinilla & Mª Isabel Ayuda, 2011. "The Labor Market Integration of Migrants: Barcelona, 1930," Economic Reports 02-2011, FEDEA.
    3. Mark Spoerer, 2005. "Motivations, contraintes et marges de manœuvre des entreprises allemandes dans l'emploi de travailleurs forcés pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale," Histoire, économie & société, Programme National Persée, vol. 24(4), pages 545-553.
    4. Spoerer, Mark, 2004. "Enterprise in the Period of Fascism in Europe. Edited by Harold James and Jakob Tanner. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002. Pp. xii, 283. $74.95," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 64(01), pages 252-253, March.
    5. Fernando Mendiola Gonzalo, 2012. "El impacto de los trabajos forzados en la economía vasconavarra (1937-1945)," Investigaciones de Historia Económica (IHE) Journal of the Spanish Economic History Association, Asociacion Espa–ola de Historia Economica, vol. 8(02), pages 104-116.
    6. Cristina Carrasco, 2006. "La paradoja del cuidado: necesario pero invisible," Revista de Economía Crítica, Asociación de Economía Crítica, vol. 5, pages 39-64.
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    Cited by:

    1. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 2013. "Human development in Africa: A long-run perspective," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-204.
    2. Giovanni Federico, 2011. "A Tale of Two Oceans: Market Integration Over the High Seas, 1800-1940," Working Papers 0011, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    3. Geraldine David & Kim Oosterlinck, 2012. "War, Inflation, Monetary Reform and the Art Market," Working Papers 0012, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).

    More about this item


    forced labour; war economy; Spanish Civil War; Franco’s Dictatorship; prison economy;

    JEL classification:

    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-

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