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Public and Private Ownership of British Industry 1820-1990


Author Info

  • Foreman-Peck, James

    (St Antony's College, Oxford)

  • Millward, Robert

    (University of Manchester)


Britain led the way for much of the world with industrial privatization during the 1980s. Yet the historical origins of the process that was being reversed have rarely been examined. This is a study of public and private ownership in industries such as railways, gas, water, electricity, and telecommunications. Industries such as these rely upon a substanial physical distribution network that `channels' their service from source to destination. They thus raise distinctive problems for government policy, as their requirement for some sort of unified system is incompatible with the coexistence of a number of competing service suppliers. Yet competition has been the traditional guarantee of `fair' and minimum prices in British industrial policy. This tension between experience and ideology provoked a variety of government policies over the last two centuries. Robert Millward and James Foreman-Peck provide a coherent and thorough economic history of the network industries, which continue to play an important role in the British economy. They trace the development of various institutional arrangements from the early nineteenth century until the end of the 1980s, and provide quantitative estimates of their performance. Their book offers a valuable historical approach to the contentious issue of privatization.

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Bibliographic Info

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This book is provided by Oxford University Press in its series OUP Catalogue with number 9780198203599 and published in 1994.

ISBN: 9780198203599
Handle: RePEc:oxp:obooks:9780198203599

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Cited by:
  1. Mühlenkamp, Holger, 2013. "From state to market revisited: more empirical evidence on the efficiency of public (and privately-owned) enterprises," MPRA Paper 47570, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. James Foreman-Peck & Leslie Hannah, 2012. "Some Consequences of the Early Twentieth Century Divorce of Ownership from Control," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-864, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  3. Nicholas Crafts & Tim Leunig & Abay Mulatu, 2007. "Were British railway companies well-managed in the early twentieth century?," Economic History Working Papers 22549, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  4. Crafts, Nicholas & Mills, Terence C. & Mulatu, Abay, 2007. "Total factor productivity growth on Britain's railways, 1852-1912: A reappraisal of the evidence," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 608-634, October.
  5. Foreman-Peck, James & Hannah, Leslie, 2011. "Extreme Divorce: the Managerial Revolution in UK Companies before 1914," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2011/21, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section.


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