State corporatism and democratic industrial relations in Spain 1926-1935: a reappraisal

Marc Prat*, Oscar Molina

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we explore the development of Spanish industrial relations institutions in the late 1920s and early 1930s. This period witnessed a change from a semifascist dictatorship toward a democratic regime as well as from economic growth to a deep economic recession. In spite of these transformations, we evidence remarkable continuity in the corporatist industrial relations institutions created in the last years of the Primo de Rivera dictatorship. The analysis of collective bargaining practices in two regions with different trade union traditions and industrial configurations shows how the experience of Comités Paritarios (joint committees) initiated in 1926 had lasting institutional effects. This contrasts with the views expressed by some authors, as well as accepted wisdom according to which state corporatism is necessarily rhetorical and accounts for little more than a mechanism to disarm the labor movement. Based on a historiographic analysis and a previously unexploited source, we provide further support to the view that Primo de Rivera contributed significantly to the modernization of labor relations in Spain. Collective bargaining expanded significantly during this period, and the joint committees system was an institutional innovation that persisted, with minor changes, during the Second Republic, until 1935.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)208-227
Number of pages20
JournalLabor History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


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