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This article uses historical fact as a natural experiment to measure a country’s welfare loss from shifting from an allowed to a restricted trade situation, based on international trade theory. A welfare loss of 8 per cent of GDP is found. The evolution of domestic import and export prices in Spain in 1940-58 fits international trade theory assumptions. The main years of autarky are not those commonly considered, but 1947-55, marked by the exclusion of Spain from the Marshall Plan and the Madrid Treaty between Franco’s regime and the US. The upper-bound welfare loss for 1947-55 is 26 per cent of GDP.