Evidence from Europe
Edited by Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead
Chapter 10: From the Highest Employment Growth to the Deepest Fall: Economic Crisis and Labour Inequalities in Spain
Rafael Muñoz de Bustillo Llorente and José-Ignacio Antón Pérez 1. PECULIARITIES OF THE SPANISH ECONOMIC BOOM The motto Spain is different, developed in the 1960s as a trademark of the then newborn national tourism industry, became for many decades – for better or worse – a good summary of one stereotype of Spanish society. Spain’s democratization at the end of the 1970s, the late development of a welfare state (even if Mediterranean in nature) and accession to the EU in 1986 led to a process of economic and social change that was expected to turn Spain into a different nation, setting the country on a path of convergence with its European neighbours. But it seems that 30 years of change have not been enough to shake off the cliché that Spain is different. In fact, Spain displayed very different behaviour over the previous economic boom in comparison with the rest of the EU and, unfortunately, also very different behaviour in these times of crisis. Figure 10.1 depicts the evolution of employment in Spain in comparison with the rest of the EU-15 and the EU-27. The numbers require little comment. While in 1998 Spain contributed 9 per cent of total EU employment, in none of the following years until 2006 did Spain’s contribution to total EU employment growth fall below 20 per cent, reaching 46.5 per cent in 2004 (and averaging 30 per cent for the period 1998–2007). The high employment creation of the Spanish economy during the...
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