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A historical approach to the economic development of Spanish municipalities: the ruralurban dichotomy during the 20th century to the present.

20th National Competition for Economic Research Grants (2021)

Economic history

Senior Researcher : Ignacio Cazcarro Castellano

Research Centre or Institution : Universidad de Zaragoza


The project's main objective is the analysis and evaluation of the factors that have influenced the evolution of the population in Spanish municipalities in the 20th century up to the present, as well as the implications and consequences that may arise from it, especially in the face of demographic challenges, such as depopulation, mainly rural. This implies covering a great gap in terms of systematic and coherent databases, and associated literature. The research consists of 4 specific objectives: 1) Preparation and analysis by municipalities of Spain of a historical database of the population, irrigated, dryland and pasture areas, as well as associated climatic and geographical variables during the 20th century until the present. 2) Preparation and analysis of variables that quantify municipal economic activity up to the present. 3) Analysis and evaluation of explanatory factors of municipal demographic change in Spain, with special emphasis on the role of irrigation, and other industries and developments in the long term. 4) Analysis of development proposals and future options.

In the current first year, the first specific objective has been completed, having developed a historical database of the population, land use, climate and geography, for the entire 20th century up to the 2010s (as allowed by the latest data on land use, and in the absence of incorporating the 2021 census – not yet available). In addition, the second of the objectives, the elaboration and analysis of some variable of an economic nature at the municipal level that allows us to study socioeconomic issues with a certain historical perspective, was already started, being in an intermediate stage. Given the availability of certain primary data found (especially in the historical INE censuses), variables of the active population and employment by activity from 1950 to the present are being elaborated and analyzed.


Scientific Production
Magazine Articles -
Communications at national conferences -
Communications at international conferences 4


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