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

  • Francisco J. Beltrán Tapia (a1), Alfonso Díez-Minguela (a2) and Julio Martinez-Galarraga (a3)

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.

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Corresponding author
Dr. Beltrán Tapia is corresponding author. E-mail:
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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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