Growth Recurring in Preindustrial Spain: Half a Millennium Perspective

78 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2020

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: March 2020

Abstract

Research in economic history has lately challenged the Malthusian depiction of preindustrial European economies, highlighting 'efflorescences', 'Smithian' and 'growth recurring' episodes. Do these defining concepts apply to preindustrial Spain? On the basis of new yearly estimates of output and population for nearly 600 years we show that preindustrial Spain was far from stagnant and phases of per capita growth and shrinkage alternated. Population and output per head evolved along supporting the hypothesis of a frontier economy. After a long phase of sustained and egalitarian growth, a collapse in the 1570s opened a new era of sluggish growth and high inequality. The unintended consequences of imperial ambitions in Europe on economic activity, rather than Malthusian forces, help to explain it.

Keywords: Black Death, Frontier economy, Growth recurring, Malthusian, Preindustrial Spain

JEL Classification: E10, N13, O10, O47

Suggested Citation

Álvarez-Nogal, Carlos and Prados de la Escosura, Leandro and Santiago-Caballero, Carlos, Growth Recurring in Preindustrial Spain: Half a Millennium Perspective (March 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP14479, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3560286

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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