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Tracing the Evolution of Agglomeration Economies: Spain, 1860–1991

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 April 2018

Francisco J. Beltrán Tapia*
Francisco J. Beltrán Tapia is Associate Professor in Economic History, Department of Historical Studies, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway.
Alfonso Díez-Minguela
Alfonso Díez-Minguela is Assistant Professor in Economic History, Departament d'Anàlisi Econòmica, Facultat d'Economia, Universitat de València, Avda. dels tarongers s/n, 46022, València, Spain. E-mail:
Julio Martinez-Galarraga
Julio Martínez-Galarraga is Associate Professor in Economic History, Departament d'Anàlisi Econòmica, Facultat d'Economia, Universitat de València, Avda. dels tarongers s/n, 46022, València, Spain. E-mail:
Dr. Beltrán Tapia is corresponding author. E-mail:


Using district population in Spain between 1860 and 1991, recorded approximately every decade, this article examines whether initial population affects subsequent population growth. While such a relationship between these two variables hardly existed during the second half of the nineteenth century, this link increased significantly between 1910 and 1970, although this trend was abruptly interrupted by the Civil War and the autarkic period that followed. The intensity of this relationship decreased in the 1970s, a process that continued during the 1980s. Our findings also stress that agglomeration economies were stronger in medium-size districts, especially from 1960 onwards.

Copyright © The Economic History Association 2018 

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We are grateful to Daniel Tirado, Rafael González-Val, the editor, and two anonymous referees for their advice and suggestions. This article was presented at the 41st Simposio of the Spanish Economic Association (Bilbao), Iberometrics VIII (Pamplona), and the First Catalan Economic Society Conference (Barcelona). We thank the participants for their comments. Financial support from the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (projects ECO2015-65049-C12-1-P, ECO2015-71534-REDT, HAR2015-64076-P and ECO2015-65582) is also gratefully acknowledged.



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