Conference Agenda

Summaries and basic information about congress panels.

Session Overview
S118: Quantitative Agricultural History: institutions, markets and natural resources
Thursday, 21/Jun/2018:
9:00am - 11:00am

Session Chair: Eva Fernández;
Session Chair: Miguel Martín-Retortillo;
Session Chair: Ana Serrano;
Location: Room 9

Session Abstract

The studies on quantitative agricultural history are becoming increasingly important. Many of these works deal with relevant themes on rural history: the impact of natural endowments and institutions in agricultural growth, the factors explaining productivity growth and agricultural development, the determinants of agricultural and food products trade, the spatial distribution of agricultural production and its consequences, the intensification in the use of inputs, the impact of economic activity on environment and the effects of agricultural policies.

This session means to be a forum for the discussion of works in all the fields of quantitative agricultural history. It mainly has two objectives. First, it aims to inform about the novel quantitative tools used in agricultural history. Thus, the audience will improve the knowledge of new analytical and methodological frameworks. Second, the session will advance in the assessment of the historical interrelations between agricultural outcomes and their main determinants from different fields. A detailed analysis of these dependencies will improve the interaction among the different branches in rural history, making joint progress in the understanding of agrarian systems, the historical context and the use of quantitative approaches.

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Explaining the presence and absence of Spanish farm cooperatives before 1936: a political economy approach

James Simpson, Juan Carmona

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain

Economic historians have used a number of arguments to explain the presence or absence of farm cooperatives in Europe before the Second World War, including social capital, religion or culture, as well as more specific economic variables such as farm size and density, or crop specificity. However, the political economy behind the creation of a cooperative network is usually ignored, and in particular, which social and political groups had vested interests in promoting them.

The paper begins by providing a general background to Spain’s farm cooperatives and shows when rural elites, the Church, and political parties had few incentives to become involved in providing top-down help to create cooperative and federations. The rest of the paper considers regional experiences, and why the creation of cooperatives and farm associations was often very different in Old Castile and Navarra; the Mediterranean region (Catalonia, Valencia and Murcia); and Galicia.

The distribution of agrarian income: Spain, 1900 - 2015

Miguel Artola

Carlos III, United States of America

This paper tracks the distribution of agrarian income in Spain from 1900 to the present day as part of a broader project to study long-term trends in inequality. The first part of our paper relates to the functional distribution of income between land, labour and capital. Later, we decompose property income (land rents and capital income) between households, corporations and the public sector. Finally, we study the personal distribution of income and land ownership.

The main purpose of this paper is to clarify the definitions and methods used by agrarian historians. In this research, we have followed the present-day standards of the system of national accounts (SNA), although we also discuss the problems related in applying this classification to the past. We also study the accuracy and limitations of the most important sources used to reconstruct the distribution of agrarian income, such as the existing series on labour wages, land rents and the return on farm capital. Last, we explore the best alternatives to compute correctly the number of land owners through tax records and argue that instead of using property taxes, it is preferable to use the statistics of the Community Tax Certificate (1870-1942)

Double concentration explaining the outstanding increase in Spanish agricultural production

Ignacio Cazcarro1, Miguel Martín-Retortillo2, Ana Serrano3

1ARAID - Universidad de Zaragoza; 2Universidad de Alcalá; 3Universidad de Zaragoza

The agricultural production in Spain increased strongly during the 2nd half of the XXth century and the beginning of the XXIst. This growth was higher than the main European countries. This period involved a massive use of technical inputs, the great expansion of the irrigation and the entry of Spain into the European Economic Community in 1986 in the context of the second globalization. All this context generates deep changes in crop production in Spain in terms of products and regions. To observe these changes, we use a methodology, which relies on index decomposition analyses.

At the national level, crop production almost tripled during the period analysed. However, from 1980 the rise in the value of some key products as vegetables and fodder crops also pushed up this magnitude. Despite the importance of this scale effect, the crop compositional change experienced by the Spanish agricultural sector was also relevant. In this regard, wine was the product with the most significant growth, followed by vegetables, fruits and oils. On the contrary, cereals lost their initial leading importance. Looking at the different regions, the production also experienced a significant geographical reallocation, concentrating in south and east of Spain.

Looking for the causes of the Spanish Forest Transition. A quantitative approach

Iñaki Iriarte Goñi, Maria Isabel Ayuda, Vicente Pinilla

Universidad de Zaragoza, España

As in other developed countries, forest cover grew in Spain during the second half of the 20th Century reaching more than 17 million hectares covered by trees or more than 28 millions hectares (around the 55% of the area of the whole country) if we add surfaces covered by scrubs and bushes. At a first glance, this trend fits quite well with the Forest Transition Theory (FTT). FTT predict four possible paths: the “economic development pathway” based on the raise of agrarian productivity; the “forest scarcity path” based in shortages of forest products acting as incentive for afforestation; the ““State Forest Policy Pathway” that estate a forest recovery guided by political interest of governments (not only economics); and the “globalization pathway” which poses the problem in the international arena, stating that forest products imports reduce pressure over national forests and this can reduce deforestation and even reinforce forest regrowth in net importing countries. In this general framework the aim of this work is to reconstruct some measurement for Spain at a provincial level making it possible to assess which one (if any) of the pathways proposed by FTT fit better with the case of the Spanish forest transition.

Desempeño relativo de la productividad física de los sistemas ganaderos de Nueva Zelanda y Uruguay, 1870-2010

Jorge Ernesto Alvarez Scanniello

Universidad de la República, Uruguay, Uruguay

En el siglo XIX, Nueva Zelanda y Uruguay se insertaron en la economía mundial como productores y exportadores de bienes agrarios, especialmente bienes derivados de la ganadería, y se configuraron como sociedades de nuevo asentamiento europeo ricas en recursos naturales. Entre 1870 y 1970, en promedio, más del 70% de la exportaciones neozelandesas y más del 80% de las exportaciones uruguayas derivaron de la actividad ganadera.

El artículo busca identificar las principales tendencias del desempeño relativo de ambos sistemas ganaderos en el largo plazo, a partir de diversos indicadores básicos de producción (stock animal, superficie, producción de carne, lana y leche) y de indicadores sintéticos de productividad física de la tierra como las unidades ganadera y la carne equivalente por hectárea. Adicionalmente se realiza una revisión crítica de los supuestos y métodos de cálculo de los indicadores sintéticos y se proponen una serie de correcciones que buscan mejorar su potencial explicativo.

El análisis de los resultados se realiza considerando la diversidad regional de cada sistema ganadero y los procesos de convergencia-divergencia de la productividad ganadera de ambos países. Los resultados sirven de base para el análisis de los procesos de cambio tecnológico y sus trayectorias en el largo plazo.

Causes of World Trade Growth in Wine, 1850-1938



We are interested in analyzing how the international wine market was built, based on the commercial flows that took place. In this international market France played a decisive role. This country ended up specializing in the export of high quality wine, while importing ordinary wine. The relevant exporters of low-quality wine were Spain and Italy, and later Algeria.

Our objective is, consequently, to study the main determinants of the world wine trade between 1850 and 1938. To do this and, following Feenstra et al. (1998 and 2001) and Schumacher and Siliverstovs (2006), we use a gravity equation à la Bergstrand (1989) that includes “multilateral resistance” as suggested by Anderson and van Wincoop (2004), to examine the principal causes underlying the evolution and changes in the directions of World wine exports.

World wine export flows were reconstructed annually in volume terms between 1850 and 1938 for Algeria, France, Italy and Spain from national foreign trade statistics. The quantities of wine exported each year to each destination in hectoliters, have been multiplied by their respective price (unit value of exports) in 1913. The wine exported by these countries accounted for more than 75% of world exports in the period analyzed.

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