A historical approach to the economic development of Spanish municipalities: the rural-urban dichotomy during the 20th century to the present

Cazcarro Castellano, Ignacio
61st ERSA Congress (The European Regional Science Association, ERSA)
Participation type: 
Comunicación oral
Other authors: 
Guillermo Rodríguez, Ana Serrano, Miguel Martín-Retortillo
Pecs, Hungría

The article consists of the analysis and evaluation of the influencing factors in the evolution of the (~8000) Spanish municipalities population, from the 20th century to the present. It also evaluates the implications that may derive from this, especially in the face of demographic challenges, such as -mainly rural- depopulation. This implies filling a great gap in terms of systematic and consistent databases and associated literature available. The paper is framed in a research project consisting of 3 specific objectives: 1) Preparation and analysis by Spanish municipalities of a historical database of the population, irrigated areas, dry land and pastures, as well as associated climatic and geographical variables during the 20th century until the present. 2) Preparation and analysis of variables that quantify Spanish municipal economic activity during the 20th century to the present. 3) Analysis and evaluation of explanatory factors of municipal demographic change in Spain, with emphasis on the role of irrigation, as well as the installation of other industries and developments in the long term. This evaluation, based on statistical and econometric analysis, allows to better understand the main explanatory factors of demographic change at such a fine scale, and potentially project development policies on the territories accordingly. The study has a clearly applied regional economics and historical character, being projected to be useful for the present and the future. Although the population information by municipality is relatively accessible from the censuses (~every decade), there is a lack of coherent and unified information for holistic analyses. A good part of the climatic, geographic and land use information is gathered and elaborated by the authors, being other variables potentially explanatory of population change less obvious or accessible. This fact is especially noticeable for economic variables on a scale as specific as municipalities. It can be stated that there are no databases or studies that have been capable of systematically representing and analysing the economic evolution of Spanish municipalities. Therefore, until now, it has not been possible to quantitatively evaluate jointly the population change with a clear-cut economics variable at municipal level, nor with other potentially explanatory factors, as it is being done in this work, which pioneers it via employment at detailed sectoral level. The work is intended also to provide example for other methodological and empirical works at European Union at fine scale, e.g. on the economics and geographical variables elaboration and joint analysis with demographics.