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Wealth in Spain, 1900-2014: A Country of Two Lands

Abstract : This study reconstructs Spain’s national wealth from 1900 to 2014. We compare the market value and book value definitions. We then present a new asset-specific decomposition of the long-run movements in the value of wealth into a volume effect (through saving) and a price effect (capital gains or losses). We also investigate the role of offshore assets using administrative records. Our results show that the national wealth-to income ratio followed a J-shaped evolution over the last century, contrary to the U-shaped trend observed in other rich economies. Spain’s wealth accumulation also differs in that both agricultural and urban land represented a larger share of national wealth in the early twentieth and twenty-first centuries, respectively. These findings are largely explained by capital gains coming from the housing sector, which account for 45% of the real growth of national wealth over the 1950-2010 period. When offshore assets are considered, Spain’s international indebtedness reduced by approximately one quarter since the 2000s. Overall, this study highlights the importance of capital gains, housing, and offshore assets as key elements in the long-term accumulation of wealth.
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Miguel Artola Blanco, Luis Estévez Bauluz, Clara Martinez-Toledano. Wealth in Spain, 1900-2014: A Country of Two Lands. 2018. ⟨hal-02878216⟩

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