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Financial Crises In Spain: Lessons From The Last 150 Years*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 January 2013

Concha Betrán
Department of Economics, Universidad de Valencia, Spain.
Pablo Martín-Aceña
Department of Economics, Universidad de Alcalá, Madrid, Spain.
María A. Pons
Department of Economics, Universidad de Valencia, Spain.


Financial crises are not unique to current financial systems. Are crises alike? Have they become more frequent, longer lasting and more severe since the 20th century? What does history tell us? The objective of this paper is to study the financial crises that have occurred in Spain over the last 150 years. We consider different types of crises (banking, currency and stock market crises), together with all their possible combinations, estimate their frequency by period and measure their length and depth. The main conclusion we obtain is that Spanish crises have been more frequent than in the rest of the world and have been more severe and more complex since 1973, as the 2007 crisis is confirming.


Las crisis financieras no son un fenómeno reciente. ¿Son todas las crisis parecidas?, ¿han sido las crisis más frecuentes, largas y severas en el siglo XX?, ¿qué nos muestra la historia? El objetivo de este trabajo es estudiar las crisis financieras en España en los últimos 150 años. Se han considerado diferentes tipos de crisis (bancarias, de tipo de cambio y bursátiles), así como sus posibles combinaciones, se ha estimado la frecuencia de las crisis en varios períodos y se ha medido su duración e intensidad. La principal conclusión obtenida es que las crisis financieras en España han sido más frecuentes que en el resto del mundo y desde 1973 han sido también más severas y más complejas, como está confirmando la crisis que estalló en 2007.

Copyright © Instituto Figuerola de Historia y Ciencias Sociales, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid 2012

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This paper received financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation ECO2009-08791. Previous versions of this paper were presented at the EHES (Geneva, August 2009), CLADHE-II/AMHE-IV (Mexico, February 2010), V Iberometrics (Barcelona, March 2011) and 7th BETA-Workshop in Historical Economics (Strasburg, May 2011) congresses. The authors would like to thank all the participants and discussants for their comments. They are especially grateful to Joaquim Voth, Matthias Morys and Lyndon Moore. They are also particularly indebted to the referees of this journal for their helpful comments and suggestions.


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