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Globalization, Growth and Distribution in Spain 1500-1913

  • Joan R. Rosés

    ()

    (Department of Economic History & Institutions, Carlos III de Madrid University)

  • Kevin H. O’Rourke

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin)

  • Jeffrey G. Williamson

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Harvard University)

The endogenous growth literature has explored the transition from a Malthusian world where real wages, living standards and labor productivity are all linked to factor endowments, to one where (endogenous) productivity change embedded in modern industrial growth breaks that link. Recently, economic historians have presented evidence from England showing that the dramatic reversal in distributional trends – from a steep secular fall in wage-land rent ratios before 1800 to a steep secular rise thereafter – must be explained both by industrial revolutionary growth forces and by global forces that opened up the English economy to international trade. This paper explores whether and how the relationship was different for Spain, a country which had relatively poor productivity growth in agriculture and low living standards prior to 1800, was a late-comer to industrialization afterwards, and adopted very restrictive policies towards imports for much of the 19th century. The failure of Spanish wage-rental ratios to undergo a sustained rise after 1840 can be attributed to the delayed fall in relative agricultural prices (due to those protective policies) and to the decline in Spanish manufacturing productivity after 1898.

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File URL: http://www.tcd.ie/Economics/TEP/2007/TEP0407.pdf
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Paper provided by Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics in its series Trinity Economics Papers with number tep0407.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tcd:tcduee:tep0407
Contact details of provider: Postal: Trinity College, Dublin 2
Phone: (+ 353 1) 6081325
Fax: 6772503
Web page: http://www.tcd.ie/Economics/

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