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

  • Concha Betrán (a1), Pablo Martín-Aceña (a2) and María A. Pons (a3)

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.

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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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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

M. Bordo (1986): «Financial Crises, Banking Crises, Stock Market Crashes and the Money Supply: Some International Evidence, 1870-1933», in F. Capie, and G. E. Wood (eds), Financial Crises and the World Banking System. London: Macmillan, pp. 190-254.

B. Eichengreen M. Bordo (2003): «Crises Now and Then: What Lesson from the Last Era of Financial Globalization», in P. Mitzen (ed.), Monetary History, Exchange Rates and Financial Markets. Essays in honour of Charles Goodhart. London: Edward Elgar, vol. 2, pp. 52-91.

B. Eichengreen ; A. Rose C. Wypplosz (1996): «Contagious Currency Crises: First Tests». Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 98 (4), pp. 463-484.

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B. R. Mitchell (1994): International Historical Statistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

B. R. Mitchell (1998): British Historical Statistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

L. Neal M. Weidenmier (2003): «Crises in the Global Economy from Tulips to Today», in M. Bordo, A. Taylor, and J. G. Williamson (eds), Globalisation in Historical Perspective. Chicago: National Bureau of Economic Research and University of Chicago Press, pp. 473-510.

A. Schwartz (1986): «Real and Pseudo Financial Crises», in F. Capie, and G. E. Wood (eds), Financial Crises and the World Banking System. London: Macmillan, pp. 11-31.

J. M. Serrano Sanz M. J. Asensio Castillo (1997): «El Ingenierismo Cambiario: la Peseta en los Tiempos del Cambio Múltiple, 1948-1959». Revista de Historia Económica 3, otoño-invierno, pp. 545-573.

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Revista de Historia Economica - Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History
  • ISSN: 0212-6109
  • EISSN: 2041-3335
  • URL: /core/journals/revista-de-historia-economica-journal-of-iberian-and-latin-american-economic-history
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