Country report: Spain

1.1 ECONOMIC GROWTH AND EXPENDITURE ON R&D

It is important to point out that Spain has experienced very strong economic growth in the past decade, superior in most years to the EU15 and EU25 averages. This has been mainly due to high growth in the construction sector and consumer consumption, although both of these are now in decline. In 2006 and 2007 improvement in exports and higher growth in capital expenditures were also recorded.

Table 1. GDP Growth 2000-2007
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007*
EU25 3.9 2.0 1.2 1.2 2.4 1.8 2.9 2.8
EU15 3.9 1.9 1.1 1.1 2.3 1.6 2.8 2.7
Spain 5.0 3.6 2.7 3.0 3.2 3.5 3.9 3.7
*Approximation. Source: Employment in Europe, Statistical Annex

These economic growth rates can be compared with the levels of investment in both education and research and development (R&D) in Spain and EU averages. In the following graph the trend towards a stabilization of the expenditure in education as a proportion of GDP and the small, but steady, growth of R&D expenditure -also as a proportion of GDP- contrast with the changes that the growth rates have experienced since the year 2000 in Spain. It is clear that R&D expenditure and the growth rates are in fact related, however, the stagnation in educational expenditure could become an obstacle for this trend to continue.

With respect to the EU averages, the following graph shows the latest figures for the education and R&D expenditure are shown for EU and Spain. Although the averages for Spain are below EU 15 and 25 averages, the trend in R&D expenditures is clearly positive, while the trend in education shows both for the EU and Spain a slight decrease. The situation of women in ICT related education sill be analysed below.