Spanish Agriculture in the Little Divergence

59 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2016

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)

Carlos Santiago-Caballero

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Date Written: February 2016

Abstract

This paper explores the role of agriculture in Spain's contribution to the little divergence in Europe. On the basis of tithes, long-run trends in agricultural output are drawn. After a long period of relative stability, output suffered a severe contraction during 1570-1620, followed by stagnation to 1650, and steady expansion thereafter. Output per head shifted from a relatively high to a low path that persisted until the nineteenth century. The decline in agricultural output per head and per worker from a relatively high level contributed to Spain falling behind and, hence, to the Little Divergence in Europe. Output per worker moved along labour force in agriculture over the long run, supporting the depiction of Spain as a frontier economy. Institutional factors, in a context of financial and monetary instability and war, along climatic anomalies, provide explanatory hypotheses that deserve further research.

Keywords: agriculture, early modern Spain, labour productivity, little divergence, tithes

JEL Classification: N53, O13, Q10

Suggested Citation

Álvarez-Nogal, Carlos and Prados de la Escosura, Leandro and Santiago-Caballero, Carlos, Spanish Agriculture in the Little Divergence (February 2016). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP11125, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2766416

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

Carlos Santiago-Caballero

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid ( email )

CL. de Madrid 126
Madrid, Madrid 28903
Spain

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