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Competir en los mercados internacionales. Altos Hornos de Vizcaya, 1882–1936*

Stefan Houpt ()

Revista de Historia Económica / Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History, 2003, vol. 21, issue 2, 335-371

Abstract: This article presents a comparative analysis of the productive performance of the modern Spanish iron and steel industry from its origins up to the Spanish Civil War. Three aspects are examined: the extent to which the industry had the potential to compete in world markets, whether or not Spanish mills applied new technologies to re-establish or maintain their competitivity and which elements limited or increased the advantage of their products. The analysis shows a revealed advantage in products intensive in iron ore. Part of this advantage can be traced back to preferential ore supply contracts. The limits to these preferential contracts introduced incentives for maintaining the reduced scale of Spanish installations. The attempt to gain control over home markets on behalf of Altos Hornos de Vizcaya may be related to these contractual limitations. The high profits reaped through the cartelisation of the industry and the wide margin of benefit obtained by producing within the scale of the preferential ore supply contracts provide an alternative explanation for the industry's performance in the period.

Date: 2003
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