International Competitiveness of the Spanish firms and its determining factors. Evidences from business history


  • Jesús María Valdaliso Gago Universidad del País Vasco



International Competitiveness, Entreprenenship, Human Capital


This article attempts to analyse the international competitiveness of the Spanish firms in the 19th and 20th centuries and their determining factors from the evidence provided by the research carried out within the business and industrial history in Spain in the last twenty years. Four factors are evaluated: the role of entrepreneurship, technology and human capital; the relative size of the Spanish firms and its domestic market; the matrix of firms' resources and capabilities and their strategies of production and commercialisation; and, finally, the competitive rivalry in the domes-tic market and other institutional factors. The limited presence of Spanish firms in the international market until the 1990s is explained on account of their deficient base of resources and capabilities, a business strategy focused on price (and low quality) competition, and an institutional framework that encouraged unproductive entrepreneurial functions instead of productive ones, like those aimed to achieve efficiency, innovation and competitiveness.