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Spanish Land Reform in the 1930s: Economic Necessity or Political Opportunism?

Listed author(s):
  • Juan Carmona

    ()

    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

  • Joan R. Rosés

    ()

    (London School of Economics)

  • James Simpson

    ()

    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

Spanish land reform, involving the break-up of the large southern estates, was a central issue during the first decades of the twentieth century. This paper uses new provincial data on landless workers, land prices and agrarian wages to consider if government intervention was needed because of the failure of the free action of markets to redistribute land. Our evidence shows that the relative number of landless workers decreased significantly from 1860 to 1930 before the approval of the 1932 Land Reform. This was due to two interrelated market forces: the falling ratio between land prices and rural wages, which made land cheaper for landless workers to rent and buy land plots, and structural change that drained rural population from the countryside. Given that rural markets did not restrict access to land, the government-initiated land redistribution had no clear-cut economic justification.

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File URL: http://www.ehes.org/EHES_90.pdf
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Paper provided by European Historical Economics Society (EHES) in its series Working Papers with number 0090.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2015
Handle: RePEc:hes:wpaper:0090
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.ehes.org

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  1. Elisenda Paluzie & Jordi Pons & Javier Silvestre & Daniel Tirado, 2009. "Migrants and market potential in Spain over the twentieth century: a test of the new economic geography," Spanish Economic Review, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 243-265, December.
  2. 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.
  3. Roses, Joan R. & Sanchez-Alonso, Blanca, 2004. "Regional wage convergence in Spain 1850-1930," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 404-425, October.
  4. Otsuka, Keijiro, 2007. "Efficiency and Equity Effects of Land Markets," Handbook of Agricultural Economics, Elsevier.
  5. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro & Rosés, Joan R., 2009. "The Sources of Long-Run Growth in Spain, 1850-2000," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(04), pages 1063-1091, December.
  6. Barham, Bradford & Carter, Michael R. & Sigelko, Wayne, 1995. "Agro-export production and peasant land access: Examining the dynamic between adoption and accumulation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 85-107, February.
  7. Simpson,James, 2003. "Spanish Agriculture," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521525169, August.
  8. Jordi Pons & Elisenda Paluzie & Javier Silvestre & Daniel A. Tirado, 2007. "Testing The New Economic Geography: Migrations And Industrial Agglomerations In Spain," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 289-313.
  9. Francisco J. Beltrán Tapia, 2012. "Commons, social capital, and the emergence of agricultural cooperatives in early twentieth century Spain," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 511-528, November.
  10. Silvestre, Javier, 2005. "Internal migrations in Spain, 1877 1930," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(02), pages 233-265, August.
  11. James Simpson & Juan Carmona, 2015. "Too many workers or not enough land? Why land reform fails in Spain during the 1930s," Documentos de Trabajo de la Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria 1509, Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria.
  12. Martínez, Domingo Gallego & Navarro, Vicente Pinilla, 1996. "Del librecambio matizado al proteccionismo selectivo: el comercio exterior de productos agrarios y alimentos en España entre 1849 y 1935," Revista de Historia Económica, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(02), pages 371-420, September.
  13. Juan Carmona & James Simpson, 2014. "Los contratos de cesión de tierra en Extremadura en el primer tercio del siglo XX," Historia Agraria. Revista de Agricultura e Historia Rural, Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria, issue 63, pages 183-213, august.
  14. Klaus Deininger, 2003. "Land Markets in Developing and Transition Economies: Impact of Liberalization and Implications for Future Reform," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1217-1222.
  15. J. L. Van Zanden, 1991. "The first green revolution: the growth of production and productivity in European agriculture, 1870-1914," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 44(2), pages 215-239, 05.
  16. Alston, Lee J. & Ferrie, Joseph P., 2005. "Time on the Ladder: Career Mobility in Agriculture, 1890 1938," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(04), pages 1058-1081, December.
  17. Juan Carmona & Joan R. Rosés, 2012. "Land markets and agrarian backwardness (Spain, 1904-1934)," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 74-96, February.
  18. Martínez, Domingo Gallego & Navarro, Vicente Pinilla, 1996. "Del librescambio matizado al proteccionismo selectivo: el comercio exterior de productos agrarios y alimentos en españa (Segunda Parte: Apéndice)," Revista de Historia Económica, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(03), pages 619-639, December.
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