Background and activities

Economic history, Historical demography

Francisco J. Beltrán Tapia defended his PhD at the University of Oxford in 2014 and worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Cambridge for three years (2014-2017). He currently leads the research project Missing Girls in Historical Europe funded by the Research Council of Norway (FRIPRO). As well as gender discrimination, his research interests include education, inequality, agriculture, migrants selectivity and agglomeration economies. He is also editor-in-chief of the Scandinavian Economic History Review and is a Research Affiliate at the Center for Economic Policy Research. Apart from his academic publications below, you can also find his blog posts on economic history in Nada es Gratis (in Spanish).


HIKU8863: Quantitative Methods for Historians (MA/PhD)

HIST8872: Digital Mapping for the Humanities and the Social Sciences (MA/PhD)

HIST1505: Introduction to Historical Theory and Methods (BA)


Female excess mortality in infancy and childhood

Missing girls in Liberal Italy, 1861-1921 (Working Paper with Gabriele Cappelli)

Infant and child sex ratios in late Imperial RussiaThe History of the Family (with Viktor Malein)

Family patriarchy and child sex ratios in historical EuropeThe History of the Family (forthcoming) (with Mikolaj Szoltysek, Bartosz Ogórek and Siegfried Gruber)

Assessing gender discrimination during infancy and childhood using twins: The case of rural Spain, 1750-1950The History of the Family (forthcoming) (with Francisco J. Marco-Gracia)

Economic development, female wages and missing female births in Spain, 1900-1930 (Working Paper with Rebeca Echavarri)

Sex ratios and gender discrimination in Modern GreecePopulation Studies 76, 2 (2022): 329-346 (with Michail Raftakis).

Inferring "missing girls" from child sex ratios in historical census dataHistorical Methods: Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History 55, 2 (2022): 98-121 (with Mikolaj Szoltysek, Bartosz Ogórek and Siegfried Gruber)

Death, sex and fertility: Female infanticide in rural Spain, 1750-1950European Review of Economic History 26, 2 (2022): 234-254 (with Francisco Marco-Gracia).

Son preference, gender discrimination and missing girls in rural Spain, 1750-1950, Population and Development Review 47, 3 (2021): 665-687 (with Francisco Marco-Gracia).

Sex ratios and missing girls in late-19th-century Europe (Working Paper).

What explains the missing girls in 19th-century Spain?Economic History Review 73, 1 (2020): 59-77 (with Domingo Gallego-Martínez).

Where are the missing girls? Gender discrimination in 19th century SpainExplorations in Economic History 66 (2017), pp. 117-126. (with Domingo Gallego-Martínez).


Lordships, state capacity and beyond: Literacy rates in mid-19th-century Valencia (Working Paper with Alfonso Díez-Minguela, Alicia Gómez-Tello, Julio Martínez-Galarraga, and Daniel Tirado-Fabregat).

La alfabetización en el mundo urbano espanol, 1860-1930, in L.E. Otero Carvajal and S. de Miguel Salanova (eds.), La educación en Espana. El salto adelante, 1900-1930 (Madrid: Catarata). (with Alfonso Díez-Minguela, Julio Martínez-Galarraga and Daniel Tirado-Fabregat)

The uneven transition towards universal literacy in Spain, 1860-1930, History of Education (with Alfonso Díez-Minguela, Julio Martínez-Galarraga and Daniel Tirado-Fabregat).

Class, literacy and social mobility: Madrid, 1880-1905The History of the Family 26, 1 (2021), pp. 149-172 (with Santiago de Miguel Salanova).

Two stories, one fate: Age-heaping and literacy in Spain, 1877-1930Revista de Historia Económica - Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History (with Alfonso Díez-Minguela, Julio Martínez-Galarraga and Daniel Tirado-Fabregat).

Capital humano y desigualdad territorial. El proceso de alfabetización en los municipios españoles desde la Ley Moyano hasta la Guerra Civil (Banco de España: Estudios de Historia Económica 74, 2019) (with Alfonso Díez-Minguela, Julio Martínez-Galarraga and Daniel Tirado-Fabregat).

Inequality and education in pre-industrial economies: Evidence from SpainExplorations in Economic History 69 (2018), pp. 81-101 (with Julio Martínez-Galarraga).

Migrants’ self-selection in the early stages of modern economic growth, Spain (1880–1930)Economic History Review 70, 1 (2017), pp. 101-121. (with Santiago de Miguel Salanova).

Enclosing literacy? Common lands and human capital in Spain, 1860-1930Journal of Institutional Economics 9, 4 (2013), pp. 491-515.

Population, inequality and economic growth

The roots of land inequality in Spain (Working Paper with Alfonso Díez-Minguela, Julio Martínez-Galarraga and Daniel Tirado-Fabregat). 

The shadow of cities: size, location and the long-term spatial distribution of population in SpainThe Annals of Regional Science 66 (2021): 729-753 (with Julio Martínez-Galarraga and Alfonso Díez-Minguela).

Inequality and growth in a developing economy: Evidence from regional data (Spain, 1860-1930)Social Science History 44, 1 (2020): 169-192 (with Julio Martínez-Galarraga).

Tracing the Evolution of Agglomeration Economies: Spain, 1860-1991Journal of Economic History 78, 1 (2018), pp. 81-117 (with Alfonso Díez-Minguela and Julio Martínez-Galarraga).

Agricultural Development

Revisiting Allen's nitrogen hypothesis from a climate perspective (1645-1740) (Working Paper with José Luis Martínez-González).

Communal hopes and land reform in rural Spain, 1931-1936 (with Iñaki Iriarte and José Miguel Lana).

En torno al comunal en España: Una agenda de investigación llena de retos y promesas, in D. Soto Fernández and J.M. Lana Berasáin (eds.), Del pasado al futuro como problema: La historia agraria contemporánea española en el siglo XXI (Zaragoza: Prensas Universitarias de Zaragoza, 2018: pp. 145-162) (link to the working paper). 

Common lands and economic development in SpainRevista de Historia Económica - Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History 34, 1 (2016), pp. 111-133.

Commons and the standard of living debate in Spain, 1860-1930'Cliometrica 9, 1 (2015), pp. 27-48.

"Goth and Vandals" or "Civilised" peasants? Common lands and agricultural productivity in Spain, 1900-1930Social Science History 39, 2 (2015), pp. 217-252.

Social and environmental filters to market incentives: Common land persistence in 19th century SpainJournal of Agrarian Change 15, 2 (2015), pp. 239-260.

Commons, Social Capital and the Emergence of Agricultural Cooperatives in Early 20th Century SpainEuropean Review of Economic History 16 (2012), pp. 511-528.

Sex ratios and gender discrimination in Modern GreecePopulation Studies 76, 2 (2022): 329-346 (with Michail Raftakis).