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The political economy of taxation in Spain, 1901-1936

Cuenda García, Mario (2023) The political economy of taxation in Spain, 1901-1936. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004529


This thesis studies the political economy of taxation and its relationship with fiscal capacity in Spain between 1901 and 1936 using a provincial-level approach. The thesis constructed a completely novel dataset on twelve taxes across 48 provinces. This research shows the geographical distribution and the evolution of taxes, tax burdens and tax sacrifices between 1904 and 1934 and finds that Madrid and Barcelona were the provinces which collected the most tax revenues and had the highest tax burdens per capita, and that total real tax revenues were increasingly concentrated in the top contributing provinces. It also finds that decreases in tax burdens and tax sacrifices indicated that GDP and GDP per capita were increasing faster than tax revenues. The thesis also delves into agrarian taxation and studies creation of a land cadastre in 1906 to analyse its impact on agrarian tax pressure and discuss its implication for economic development. The findings show that the Spanish land cadastre succeeded in updating the tax bases and increased territorial contribution revenues in the provinces where it was implemented but that it did not impact agrarian tax pressure. The results suggest that the state incurred considerable opportunity cost in foregone territorial contribution revenues. The thesis studies the relationship between taxation and politics during the last two decades of the Restoration and argues that political negotiations around the Treasury were crucial in the politics of Restoration’s Spain. The thesis shows that the Spanish state did not tax efficiently across its territory and confirms that Spain had a shallow fiscal capacity in the first decades of the 20th Century.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2023 Mario Cuenda García
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
Sets: Departments > Economic History
Supervisor: Schulze, Max-Stephan and Roses, Joan R.

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