Portuguese Economic Journal

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 189–209 | Cite as

Barriers to technological adoption in Spain and Portugal

Original Article


Since 1945, both Spain and Portugal have experienced significant market transformations. These countries were both led by dictators for many years until the mid 1970s when each moved toward more democratic governments and more open markets. As a result, each experienced significant changes in output with Spain’s becoming a model for proper market based transformations. Although Portugal’s transformation has been less impressive it experienced improvements too. This paper uses a Parente and Prescott (J Polit Econ 102(2), 298–321, 1994; 2000) type model to investigate the recent transformations in each of these countries and quantify the extent to which barriers to technological adoption may have played for these two development experiences. Our results indicate that from 1945 to 2003 these barriers have fallen considerably but remain high, and are somewhat higher in Portugal than in Spain.


Technology barriers Economic development Spain Portugal 

JEL Classification

E20 O11 O33 


  1. Acemoglu D, Zilibotti F (2001) Productivity differences. Q J Econ 116(2):563–606CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baklanoff E (1978) Economic transformation of Spain and Portugal. Praeger, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Baklanoff E (1992) The political economy of Portugal’s later estado novo: a critique of the stagnation thesis. Luso-Brazilian Rev 29(1):1–17Google Scholar
  4. Barro R, Sala-I-Martin X (1995) Economic growth. McGraw Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Blanchard O, Portugal P (2001) What hides behind an unemployment rate: comparing Portuguese and US labor markets. Am Econ Rev 91(1):187–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boucekkine R, Martinez B (1999) Machine replacement, technology adoption and convergence. Discussion paper 1999025, Université Catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), BelgiumGoogle Scholar
  7. Castellacci F (2001) A technology-gap approach to cumulative growth: toward an integrated model. Empirical evidence for Spain, 1960–1997. Working paper 01-04, Danish Research Unit for Industrial Dynamics (DRUID), DenmarkGoogle Scholar
  8. Cavalcanti T (2007) Business cycle and level accounting: the case of Portugal. Port Econ J 6(1):47–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chari VV, Kehoe PJ, McGrattan ER (2007) Business cycle accounting. Econometrica 75(3):781–836CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cheung Y, Chinn M (1996) Deterministic, stochastic, and segmented trends in aggregate output: a cross-country analysis. Oxf Econ Pap 48(1):134–162Google Scholar
  11. Colomer J (1991) Transitions by agreement: modeling the Spanish way. Am Polit Science Rev 85(4):1283–1302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Comin D, Hobijn B (2007) Implementing technology. Working paper no. 12886, NBERGoogle Scholar
  13. De Castro J, Pistrui J, Coduras A, Cohen B, Justo R (2002) Proyecto GEM: informe ejecutivo 2001. Cátedra Najeti—Instituto de Empresa, MadridGoogle Scholar
  14. Escosura L, Rosés J (2007) The sources of long-run growth in Spain 1850–2000. Working papers in economic history, working paper 07-02, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, SpainGoogle Scholar
  15. European Industrial Relations Observatory (2000) Developments in industrial action—annual update 1999. http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/eiro/. Accessed 28 May 2007
  16. European Industrial Relations Observatory (2003) Developments in industrial action: 1998–2002. http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/eiro/. Accessed 28 May 2007
  17. European Industrial Relations Observatory (2005) Developments in industrial action: 2000-4. http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/eiro/. Accessed 28 May 2007
  18. Gunther R, Montero J, Botella J (2004) Democracy in modern Spain. Yale University Press, ConnecticutGoogle Scholar
  19. Hall R, Jones C (1999) Why do some countries produce so much more output per worker than others? Q J Econ 114(1):83–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Harding T, Rattsø J (2005) The barrier model of productivity growth: South Africa. Discussion paper 425, Research Department, Statistics, NorwayGoogle Scholar
  21. Jimeno J, Moreal E, Saiz L (2006) Structural breaks in labor productivity growth: the United States vs. the European Union. Documentos de trabajo 0625, Banco de Espana, Madrid, SpainGoogle Scholar
  22. Medina A, Lobo J, et al (2001) The global entrepreneurship monitor: 2001 Portugal executive report. Universidade Nova de Lisboa, LisbonGoogle Scholar
  23. Lopes J (2004) A economia Portuguesa desde 1960, 7th edn. Gradiva, LisbonGoogle Scholar
  24. Lucas R, Prescott E (1971) Investment under uncertainty. Econometrica 39(5):659–681CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Maddison A (2001) The world economy: a millennial perspective. OECD Development Centre, ParisGoogle Scholar
  26. Maddison A (2007) The contours of the world economy 1–2030 AD. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  27. Maxwell K, Spiegel S (1994) The new Spain: from isolation to influence. Council on Foreign Relations Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  28. Ngai R (2004) Barriers and the transition to modern growth. J Monet Econ 51(7):1353–1383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Parente SL, Prescott EC (1994) Barriers to technology adoption and development. J Polit Econ 102(2):298–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Parente SL, Prescott EC (1999) Monopoly rights: a barrier to riches. Am Econ Rev 89(5):1216–1233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Parente SL, Prescott EC (2000) Barriers to riches. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  32. Parente SL, Prescott EC (2005) A unified theory of the evolution of international income levels. In: Aghion P, Durlauf S (eds) Handbook of economic growth 1B. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 1371–1416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Prescott EC (2002) Prosperity and depression. Am Econ Rev 92(2):1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Solow R (1956) A contribution to the theory of economic growth. Q J Econ 70(1):65–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Torres F (2000) Lessons from Portugal’s long transition to economic and monetary union. In: Vasconcelos A, Seabra M (eds) Portugal: a European story. Instituto de Estudos Estratégicos e Internacionais-Principia, Lisbon, pp 99–130Google Scholar
  36. Tortella G (2000) The development of modern Spain: an economic history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In: Harvard historical studies, vol 136Google Scholar
  37. World Bank (2006) World development indicators 2006. CD-ROM edition, Washington DCGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA
  2. 2.School of Business and EconomicsMichigan Technological UniversityHoughtonUSA

Personalised recommendations