IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Catching-up, then falling behind: Comparative productivity growth between Spain and the United Kingdom, 1950-2004


  • George Chouliarakis
  • Mónica Correa-López


The pattern of Spanish comparative labor productivity performance in the period 1950-2004 is underpinned by distinctive sectoral trends. From 1950 until the mid-1970s, Spain narrowed the aggregate labor productivity gap with Britain by shifting resources out of agriculture and by improving its comparative labor productivity position across most sectors, out of which manufacturing plays a central role. Significant improvements in comparative efficiency and the dynamic pace of comparative capital intensity characterize the catch-up phase. In the period 1975-1990 convergence stagnates. In spite of the continual shift of resources out of agriculture and the good comparative performance of small sectors, such as utilities, transport and communication, and agri- culture itself, comparative labor productivity was adversely affected by the catching-up exhaustion of manufacturing and construction and by the deterioration of comparative labor productivity in services. A dramatic slowdown in efficiency gains characterizes the plateau phase. Lastly, Spain has widened the aggregate labor productivity gap since the early 1990s. The deterioration of Spain's relative productivity position with Britain has affected all sectors except agriculture. Efficiency stagnation characterizes the divergence phase.

Suggested Citation

  • George Chouliarakis & Mónica Correa-López, 2009. "Catching-up, then falling behind: Comparative productivity growth between Spain and the United Kingdom, 1950-2004," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 131, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
  • Handle: RePEc:man:cgbcrp:131

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 1995. "Growth and Macroeconomic Performance in Spain, 1939-93," CEPR Discussion Papers 1104, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. 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.
    3. Broadberry, Stephen N., 1998. "How Did the United States and Germany Overtake Britian? A Sectoral Analysis of Comparative Productivity Levels, 1870–1990," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(02), pages 375-407, June.
    4. Chenery, Hollis B., 1984. "Economic Structure and Performance," Elsevier Monographs, Elsevier, edition 1, number 9780126800609 edited by Syrquin, Moshe & Taylor, Lance & Westphal, Larry E..
    5. Broadberry, Stephen N. & Irwin, Douglas A., 2006. "Labor productivity in the United States and the United Kingdom during the nineteenth century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 257-279, April.
    6. Mas Ivars Matilde & Uriel Jiménez Ezequiel & Pérez García Francisco, 2005. "El stock y los servicios del capital en España (1964-2002). Nueva metodología," Books, Fundacion BBVA / BBVA Foundation, edition 0, number 201147, December.
    7. Esther Gordo & Javier Jareño & Alberto Urtasun, 2006. "Radiografía del sector servicios en España," Occasional Papers 0607, Banco de España;Occasional Papers Homepage.
    8. Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, 2006. "Growth and structural change in Spain, 1850-2000," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wp06-05, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Correa-López Mónica & de Blas Beatriz, 2012. "International Transmission of Medium-Term Technology Cycles: Evidence from Spain as a Recipient Country," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-52, November.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:man:cgbcrp:131. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marianne Sensier). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.