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The economic consequences of the Spanish Reconquest: the long-term effects of Medieval conquest and colonization

Daniel Oto-Peralías () and Diego Romero-Ávila ()
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Daniel Oto-Peralías: University of St Andrews

Journal of Economic Growth, 2016, vol. 21, issue 4, No 3, 409-464

Abstract: Abstract This paper shows that a historical process that ended more than five centuries ago, the Reconquest, is very important to explain Spanish regional economic development down to the present day. An indicator measuring the rate of Reconquest reveals a heavily negative effect on current income differences across the Spanish provinces. A main intervening factor in the impact the Reconquest has had is the concentration of economic and political power in a few hands, excluding large segments of the population from access to economic opportunities when Spain entered the industrialization phase. The timing of the effect is consistent with this argument. A general implication of our analysis is that large frontier expansions may favor a political equilibrium among the colonizing agents that is biased toward the elite, creating the conditions for an inegalitarian society, with negative consequences for long-term economic development.

Keywords: Economic development; Political power; Structural inequality; Spanish Reconquest; History (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C21 N2 O1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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DOI: 10.1007/s10887-016-9132-9

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