The Rise and Fall of Spain (1270-1850)

53 Pages Posted: 4 May 2011

See all articles by Carlos Álvarez-Nogal

Carlos Álvarez-Nogal

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Leandro Prados de la Escosura

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - Faculty of Social Sciences and Law; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: April 2011

Abstract

Two distinctive regimes are distinguished in Spain over half-a-millennium. A first one (1270s-1590s) corresponds to a high land-labour ratio frontier economy, pastoral, trade-oriented, and led by towns. Wages and food consumption were relatively high. Sustained per capita growth occurred from the Reconquest's end (1264) to the Black Death (1340s) and resumed from the 1390s only broken by late-15th century turmoil. A second regime (1600s-1810s) corresponds to a more agricultural and densely populated low-wage economy which grew along a lower path. Contrary to preindustrial Western Europe, Spain achieved her highest living standards in the 1340s, not by mid-15th century. Although its population toll was lower, the Plague had a more damaging impact on Spain and, far from releasing non-existent demographic pressure, destroyed the equilibrium between scarce population and abundant resources. Pre-1350 per capita income was reached by the late 16th century but only overcome after 1820.

Keywords: Black Death, Decline, Frontier economy, preindustrial Spain, Reconquest, Rise, Western Europe

JEL Classification: E01, N13, O47

Suggested Citation

Álvarez-Nogal, Carlos and Prados de la Escosura, Leandro, The Rise and Fall of Spain (1270-1850) (April 2011). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP8369, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1830987

Carlos Álvarez-Nogal (Contact Author)

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid ( email )

Leandro Prados de la Escosura

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid - Faculty of Social Sciences and Law ( email )

Getafe (Madrid), 28903
Spain
+34916249623 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uc3m.es/portal/page/portal/dpto_historia_economica_inst/home/faculty/leandro_prados_escos

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

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