Analytical Articles

The Analytical Articles present various subjects relating to the economy and finances of Spain, the euro area and the international environment. They seek to bring the papers and analyses of the Banco de España to the attention of a broad public audience interested in current economic and financial affairs.

Since January 2017, the Analytical Articles have been disseminated ahead of the publication of the related quarterly Economic Bulletin and are listed by release date or by subject.

All documents are available in PDF format PDF File. Opens in a new window

  • 01/03/2021
    The gender gap in financial competences (556 KB) Laura Hospido, Sara Izquierdo and Margarita Machelett

    The Survey of Financial Competences shows that men are better at answering financial literacy questions than women. This article documents the magnitude of the gender gap in this area, reviews the hypotheses that, according to the academic literature, might explain the gender gap and quantifies the contribution of each hypothesis in the case of Spain. The findings suggest that a significant gender gap in financial literacy remains when considering the differences between men and women in terms of their socio-demographic characteristics, numeracy and reading comprehension skills, attitudes as measured by interest in finance, specialisation in household tasks and risk preferences. However, the gender gaps are significantly smaller in regions with more egalitarian financial arrangements for custody and marriage, suggesting that social norms may be important in explaining these disparities. Finally, the article advises treating any measurement of financial competences that merely adds up the correct responses to financial literacy questions with caution. The use of alternative measures of financial competences changes the size of the gap usually observed.

  • 25/02/2021
    The economic impact of COVID-19 on Spanish firms according to the Banco de España Business Activity Survey (EBAE) (517 KB) Alejandro Fernández Cerezo, Beatriz González, Mario Izquierdo and Enrique Moral-Benito

    The COVID-19 health crisis had a highly uneven impact across sectors and regions in 2020. However, there is hitherto little evidence regarding the heterogeneous impact of the crisis on
    different firms within each sector and region. This article provides an initial description of the characteristics determining how severely firms have been affected by the pandemic. To this end, it uses the responses (just over 4,000) given in the first round of the Banco de España Business Activity Survey (EBAE), launched in November 2020. The results show that turnover and employment declined more markedly at smaller-sized firms. Moreover, within each sector and region, the crisis has had more adverse effects on younger firms, less productive firms and those located in urban areas. In the case of jobs, higher temporary employment ratios are associated with larger reductions in employment.

  • 10/02/2021
    The economic performance of Spanish provinces during 2020 and its determinants (513 KB) Alejandro Fernández Cerezo

    This article presents an estimation of changes in provincial GDP over the course of 2020. The pandemic’s impact on activity has been highly uneven across Spain’s provinces, with the island provinces and those on the Mediterranean coast being the most affected. The factors that lie behind this disparity are also explored. The steepest declines in activity were associated with a greater weight of tourism – particularly inbound tourism – in provincial activity, a higher proportion of temporary employment, a lower weight for the public sector and lower levels of public mobility. However, after controlling for the effects related to mobility and economic structure, the excess mortality prompted by the pandemic does not appear to be a significant variable in explaining the cross-province differences in GDP change during 2020.

  • 29/01/2021
    Recent developments in financing and bank lending to the non-financial private sector (778 KB) Pana Alves, Fabián Arrizabalaga, Javier Delgado, Jorge Galán, Eduardo Pérez Asenjo, Carlos Pérez Montes and Carlos Trucharte

    Financing conditions for households and businesses have remained accommodating in the second half of 2020, assisted by the support measures introduced by the economic and monetary authorities to contend with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are signs of some tightening in credit standards, linked to financial institutions’ increased risk concerns. The recovery in economic activity since the summer has favoured a more dynamic flow of credit to individuals, while, after the large volume of financing granted to productive activities over the spring, new lending to this sector declined significantly. The strong negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic activity did not filter through in any significant way into the quality of deposit institutions’ private sector credit portfolio until 2020 Q3. Although the decline in non-performing loans observed in previous years generally slowed across portfolios in 2020, and despite the pick-up in specific portfolios, such as those relating to consumer credit, total non-performing loans have continued to decline on a year-on-year basis. Growth in the volume of public guarantees for lending to business eased in the second half of the year and the volume of credit subject to non-expired moratoria, which is concentrated mostly in banking association schemes, stabilised.

  • 19/01/2021
    January 2021 Bank Lending Survey in Spain (574 KB) Álvaro Menéndez Pujadas and Maristela Mulino

    According to the Bank Lending Survey, during 2020 Q4, both in Spain and in the euro area there was a slight contraction in the credit supply, linked to banks’ higher risk perceptions, against a background of a worsening economic outlook, which was also reflected in lower demand for loans. These trends were recorded in most of the segments analysed. In a similar vein, according to the banks responding, the NPL ratio contributed in both areas to a slight tightening of credit standards in loans to firms and consumer credit and other lending to households. In 2020 H1, credit standards and the terms and conditions on loans with government guarantees eased considerably in both areas, while a contraction was observed in the supply of loans without guarantees in the same period. Furthermore, applications for loans with guarantees rose robustly between January and June, both in Spain and in the euro area, owing to firms’ higher liquidity needs in those months and the need to build up precautionary liquidity buffers, while the demand for loans without guarantees dropped significantly.

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