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State intervention and small-scale farming in Spain, 1939-1955. Case studies of wheat, olives and wine.

Christiansen, Thomas (2001) State intervention and small-scale farming in Spain, 1939-1955. Case studies of wheat, olives and wine. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis analyses the influence of Francoist agrarian policy on agricultural output in Spain in the 1939-55 period. The focus is on the wheat, olive and wine sectors, and special attention is given to small-scale farmers. Agrarian policy included price-fixing, production quotas and rationing of consumption. In the historical literature, this policy is often blamed for the post-Civil War decline in output. Yet, the present analysis states that this interpretation is erroneous. Producers and consumers circumvented intervention by creating a black market. When earnings from this source are included, value of output per unit of land remained close to pre-war levels. This also holds for small-scale farmers, although they benefited less from the black market than large-scale farmers did. It is then concluded that the decrease in wheat output was caused by lack of work animals and fertilisers rather than official prices. Intervention in the wheat sector was therefore desirable from a social viewpoint, but the system could have been improved. Average olive oil output was only below the pre-war level immediately after the war. Consequently, state intervention was unnecessary after 1942-43 and could have been abolished long before it was finally done in 1952. Thus, the intervention in the olive sector is an example of state failure. In the wine sector, policy aimed at increasing farm prices rather than decreasing consumer prices. Table wine consumption declined after the war, but this was counteracted by higher demand for high-alcohol white wine for the production of brandy and industrial alcohol. The winegrowers in Toledo successfully reacted by increasing output of high-alcohol white wine. Yet, the strategy led to overproduction, and state protection was increased in 1952-53. Consequently, state intervention had different effects on different sub-sectors. However, in none of the cases did output decline significantly because of the price policy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: History, European
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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