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Military expenditure, spending capacity and budget constraint in Eighteenth-Century Spain and Britain

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Jurado Sánchez, José (2009) Military expenditure, spending capacity and budget constraint in Eighteenth-Century Spain and Britain. Revista de Historia Económica, Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History, XXVII (1). pp. 141-174. ISSN 0212-6109

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Abstract

Using new public spending statistics for Spain and other various indicators we show that Spain and Britain suffered larger increases in public expenditure in the periods in which they fought each other and other countries.The British Exchequer spent much more than its Spanish counterpart,especially on the Army and Navy and debt repayment. This situation helps to explain why Britain emerged victorious against Spain in the majority of these wars and was a consequence of the political and institutional changes made in England from 1688 onwards, reducing budget constraint and allowing Britain to mobilise the necessary resources to become the leading world power. In Spain, however, the changes required to eliminate the country’s history of bankruptcies and increase its spending capacity were not made.

Resumen (otros idiomas)

Utilizando unas nuevas series del gasto de la Hacienda española y algunos otros indicadores se comprueba que España y Gran Bretaña sufrieron grandes aumentos del gasto público en aquellos periodos en que guerrearon entre sí y con otros países. El Estado británico gastó mucho más dinero que el español, sobre todo en los capítulos militares y el servicio de la Deuda, lo que contribuye a explicar por qué Gran Bretaña venció a España en la mayoría de los conflictos que libraron ambos países. Esto era, en buena parte, una consecuencia de los cambios políticos e institucionales llevados a cabo en Inglaterra a fines del siglo XVII, que limitaron las restricciones presupuestarias y facilitaron que Gran Bretaña llegara a ser la primera potencia mundial, mientras que en España no se hicieron las transformaciones necesarias para hacer olvidar su larga tradición de bancarrotas y aumentar su capacidad de gasto.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:

Received 03/18/2008. Accepted 09/23/2008. The author is grateful to the Universidad Complutense
of Madrid for funding part of this research (grant no PR3/04-12466). I would like to
thank Javier Cuenca for providing the source used to unify the units of account of Spain and
Britain, Rafael Dobado for his valuable comments, and J. P. Reeder for correcting spelling mistakes
made by the author. The author, however, retains all responsibility for any remaining errors
and omissions. a Faculty of Economics and School of Business Studies, Complutense University of Madrid,
Campus de Somosaguas, 28223 Pozuelo de Alarcón, Madrid, Spain (jurado@ccee.ucm.es).

Uncontrolled Keywords:Public expenditure; Military outlays; Spending capacity; British and Spanish National Budgets (18th century).
Palabras clave (otros idiomas):Gasto público; Gasto militar; Presupuestos; Capacidad de gasto; Gran Bretaña y España (siglo XVIII).
Subjects:Social sciences > Economics > Economic history
JEL:N13, N44
ID Code:32845
Deposited On:24 Sep 2015 09:01
Last Modified:17 Dec 2018 16:11

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