The Spanish Productivity Puzzle in the Great Recession

31 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2015

See all articles by Laura Hospido

Laura Hospido

Banco de España - Research Department

Eva Moreno-Galbis

Université du Maine

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While Spain had traditionally under-performed its European counterparts in terms of labor productivity, the trend is reversed after 2007. The evolution of aggregate productivity in Spain during the Great Recession largely responds to the adverse conditions in the labor market, but not only. Using a longitudinal sample of Spanish manufacturing and services companies between 1995 and 2012, we show that the recent increase in Spanish aggregate productivity also responds to the evolution of the total factor productivity (TFP) and to composition effects.By combining the information at the firm level on balance sheet items, collective agreements and imports-exports, we are able to establish that commitment to a collective agreement at the firm level and access to external markets are positively related to TFP performance during the whole period. In addition, we estimate that firm TFP was negatively correlated with the share of temporary workers during the expansion period, 1995-2007, whereas the sign of that correlation reversed completely during the crisis, 2008-2012. Finally, we relate this sign reversal with the changing composition of temporary workers in the labor market.

Keywords: labor productivity, TFP, temporary workers, collective agreements, exporting firms

JEL Classification: J24, J21, J52

Suggested Citation

Hospido, Laura and Moreno-Galbis, Eva, The Spanish Productivity Puzzle in the Great Recession. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8891, Available at SSRN:

Laura Hospido (Contact Author)

Banco de España - Research Department ( email )

Alcala 48
Madrid, 28014
+34 913385625 (Phone)
+34 913385678 (Fax)


Eva Moreno-Galbis

Université du Maine ( email )

72085 Le Mans Cedex 9

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