, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 359–396

On the causes of economic growth in Europe: why did agricultural labour productivity not converge between 1950 and 2005?

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11698-014-0119-5

Cite this article as:
Martín-Retortillo, M. & Pinilla, V. Cliometrica (2015) 9: 359. doi:10.1007/s11698-014-0119-5


The objective of this study is to make a further contribution to the debate on the causes of economic growth in the European Continent. It explains why agricultural labour productivity differences did not converge between 1950 and 2005 in Europe. We propose an econometric model, one combining both proximate and fundamental causes of economic growth. The results show that the continuous exit of labour power from the sector, coupled with the increased use of productive factors originating in other sectors of the economy, caused the efficiency of agricultural workers to rise. However, we offer a complete explanation of the role played by institutions and geographical factors. Thus, we detect a direct and inverse relation between membership of the EU and the Communist bloc and the productivity of agricultural labour. In addition, strong support for agriculture affected productivity negatively.


Agricultural labour productivity European agriculture European economic history Causes of economic growth 

JEL Classification

N50 N54 O13 Q10 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied Economics and Economic History, Faculty of Economics and Business StudiesUniversidad de ZaragozaZaragozaSpain

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