HHB Working Paper Series


Standard Budgets in Spanish Economic History: a User’s Guide to Sources and Methods

Author(s): Francesco Olivanti

Year: 2018

No: 10

JEL Classification: C10, C61, D12, I31, I32, N01, N30, Z18

Pages: 30


In this paper the author documents a near absence of household budget microdata in the sources for nineteenth century Spain, both published and archival. The sources do however contain a rich set of standard budgets, which can contribute to a better understanding of the history of Spanish living standards.

The paper is divided in three parts: first, the author describes standard budgets and their usefulness for cliometricians; secondly, he traces their history in the Spanish sources; finally, he sketches a few applications to issues in the period 1850-1905.

The latter analysis suggests: a) a substantial variation in cost of living and expenditure patterns across provinces, sectors, and socioeconomic status; b) a sensible impact of alternative CPI weights on national price indices; c) poverty lines ranging between 1,110 and 1,300 euros per year – in 2016 prices – for the years 1850 and 1856.

label icon Keywords: cost of living, economic history, household budgets, living standards, poverty, prices, Spain, standard budgets, wellbeing

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