Professor Joan Roses

Professor Joan Roses

Professor in Economic History

Department of Economic History

+44 (0) 20 7955 6678
Room No
SAR 5.15
Office Hours
Tuesdays 2.30-4.30pm Book by email
Catalan, English, Italian, Spanish
Key Expertise
Modern Economic Geography; Economic History;Housing; Regional Inequality

About me

As an academic specializing in economic history, my focus lies in the study of Modern and Contemporary Europe. Specifically, my research interests revolve around historical economic geography, long-term economic growth, well-being, and policy issues. I co-authored a book about the Great Influenza Pandemic (2022) with Sergi Basco from the University of Barcelona and Jordi Domènech from UC3M. Additionally, I contributed to and edited a book on the Economic Development of Europe's Regions (2018) in collaboration with Nikolaus Wolf from Humboldt University. My research has been published in leading international journals: Journal of Economic History, Economic History ReviewWorld DevelopmentExplorations in Economic HistoryEuropean Review of Economic History, Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Regional Studies, and Journal of Economic Surveys, among others.

Throughout my career, I have collaborated with various co-authors on several projects. One of my earliest research endeavours delved into the topic of Spanish industrialization. I authored papers that examined the determinants of unequal industrial development, the role of human capital, technological change, tariffs, and cotton firms' innovations in market structure. During this period, I also co-wrote an article with Xavier Cuadras-Morató (UPF) on the monetary supply during the industrialization process in Catalonia.

During the early 2000s, I embarked on three substantive projects focused on Spanish economic history. The first project centred on the role of factor markets in the country's development before the Civil War. My findings led to publications on the convergence of regional labour markets from 1850 to 1930 in collaboration with Blanca Sanchez-Alonso (CEU). I also published articles on the efficiency of land markets with Juan Carmona (UC3M) and the performance of housing markets with Juan Carmona and Markus Lampe (WU Vienna) during the first third of the 20th century. Together, Juan Carmona, Markus Lampe, and I created a new database on factor prices, including land and housing prices, as well as real estate transactions for Spanish provinces from 1904 to 1934. A closely related article related to this work on Spanish markets is my paper with Juan Carmona and James Simpson (UC3M) on the evolution of land access in Spain before the Civil War.

A second strand of my research on Spain is my joint work with Leandro Prados de la Escosura (UC3M) on identifying the sources of long-run Spanish growth from 1850 until the present. We have authored papers on topics such as productivity, human capital, and capital accumulation. One extension of this research is our paper with Isabel Sanz Villarroya (Zaragoza) on the role of institutional reforms in Franco’s economic growth. Through this project, we have compiled a comprehensive database of Spanish productivity and factors of production spanning from 1850 until today.

Along with Julio Martinez-Galarraga and Daniel Tirado, both from the University of Valencia, I have worked on another significant project related to Spain. The project has led to multiple publications and focuses on the origins and developments of the Spanish regional disparities. As a result of this project, we created a new database of industrial structure, workforce, population, GDPs, and GDPs per capita for all Spanish provinces from 1860 until the present.

Recently, I have been working on the impact of the Great Influenza Pandemic on Spain with Sergi Basco and Jordi Domènech. We have already published the previously mentioned book and several papers on the redistributive effects of the pandemic and the socioeconomic distribution of pandemic mortality.

Outside Spanish economic history, I have been working on regional inequality in Europe with Nikolaus Wolf, in Sweden with Kerstin Enflo (Lund), in France with Teresa Sanchis (Valencia), and Canada with Chris Minns (LSE). An important outcome of my joint work with Nikolaus Wolf is the Rosés-Wolf database on regional GDP ( The first version of the data was constructed by a team of 26 researchers based on national historical statistics.

I did my first degree in History and Geography, specialization in Contemporary History, at the Universidad de Barcelona and my 2-year post graduate studies in Economic History at the Universitat de Barcelona and Autònoma de Barcelona. I obtained my PhD degree in History and Civilization at the European University Institute, before joining the Economic History Department of the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in 1998. I am professor at the Department of Economic History of the LSE since 2013 and chair of the RDSC. I am fellow of the CEPR and Instituto Figuerola and I was editor of the European Review of Economic History between 2015 and 2023.


EH308 Historical Economic Geography: Cities, Markets and Regions in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Find Professor Roses at: Google Scholar | RePEc

You can view Professor Roses's CV here:  Professor Joan Roses's CV [PDF]


Expertise Details

Modern European Economic History; Historical Economic Geography: housing; regional inequality; structural change; and regional policies; long-run Economic Growth: innovation; productivity; and human capital; Economic and social history of pandemics.

Selected publications

(with Nikolaus Wolf), eds. The Economic Development of Europe's Regions: A Quantitative History Since 1900, Routledge, 2018.

(with Leandro Prados de la Escosura), ‘Accounting for Growth in Spain, 1850-2019,’ Journal of Economic Surveys, forthcoming.

(with Sergi Basco and Jordi Domènech), ‘The redistributive effects of pandemics: evidence on the Spanish flu,’ World Development, Vol. 141 (2021), 105389.

(with Juan Carmona and James Simpson), ‘The question of land access and the Spanish Land Reform of 1932,’ Economic History Review, vol. 72, no. 2 (2019), pp. 669-690.

(with Juan Carmona and Markus Lampe), ‘Housing affordability during the urban transition in Spain,’ Economic History Review, vol. 70, no. 2 (2017), pp. 632–658.

(with Kerstin Enflo), ‘Coping with Regional Inequality in Sweden: Structural Change, Migrations and Policy, 1860-2000,’ Economic History Review, vol. 68, no. 1 (2015), pp. 191-217.

(with Julio Martinez-Galarraga and Daniel A. Tirado), ‘The upswing of regional income inequality in Spain (1860-1930)’, Explorations in Economic History, vol. 47, no. 2 (2010), pp. 244-257

‘Why Isn’t the Whole of Spain Industrialized? New Economic Geography and Early Industrialization, 1797-1910’, Journal of Economic History, vol 63, no. 4 (2003), pp. 995-1022.