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British relative economic decline revisited: The role of competition

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  • Crafts, Nicholas

Abstract

This paper examines the role of competition in British productivity performance over the period from the late-nineteenth to the early twenty-first century. A detailed review of the evidence suggests that the weakness of competition from the 1930s to the 1970s undermined productivity growth but since the 1970s stronger competition has been a key ingredient in ending relative economic decline. The productivity implications of the retreat from competition resulted in large part from interactions with idiosyncratic British institutional structures in terms of corporate governance and industrial relations. This account extends familiar insights from cliometrics both analytically and chronologically.

Suggested Citation

  • Crafts, Nicholas, 2012. "British relative economic decline revisited: The role of competition," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 17-29.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:49:y:2012:i:1:p:17-29
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2011.06.004
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    Cited by:

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    2. Campos, Nauro F., 2019. "B for Brexit: A Survey of the Economics Academic Literature," IZA Discussion Papers 12134, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Crafts, Nicholas, 2017. "The Postwar British Productivity Failure," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1142, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    4. Crafts, Nicholas, 2021. "What Can We Learn from the UK's Post-1945 Economic Reforms?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 579, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    5. Nicholas Crafts, 2013. "Returning to Growth: Policy Lessons from History," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 34(2), pages 255-282, June.
    6. Nauro F Campos & Fabrizio Coricelli, 2017. "EU Membership, Mrs Thatcher’s Reforms and Britain’s Economic Decline," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 59(2), pages 169-193, June.
    7. Lucy Minford & David Meenagh, 2020. "Supply-Side Policy and Economic Growth: A Case Study of the UK," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 159-193, February.
    8. Crafts, Nicholas, 2012. "Creating Competitive Advantage: Policy Lessons from History," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 91, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    9. Sandra Bernick & Richard Davies & Anna Valero, 2017. "UK Growth: A New Chapter," CEP Special Papers 28b, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    10. Nicholas Crafts, 2017. "Is Slow Economic Growth the ‘New Normal’ for Europe?," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 45(3), pages 283-297, September.
    11. Giordano, Claire & Giugliano, Ferdinando, 2015. "A tale of two Fascisms: Labour productivity growth and competition policy in Italy, 1911–1951," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 25-38.
    12. Graham Brownlow, 2015. "Back to the failure: an analytic narrative of the De Lorean debacle," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 57(1), pages 156-181, January.
    13. Pessoa, João Paulo & Van Reenen, John, 2013. "The UK productivity and jobs puzzle: does the answer lie in labour market flexibility?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58010, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    14. Crafts, Nicholas, 2012. "Western Europe's Growth Prospects: an Historical Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 8827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Crafts, Nicholas & O’Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj, 2014. "Twentieth Century Growth*This research has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC grant agreement no. 249546.," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 6, pages 263-346, Elsevier.
    16. Kelly Benetatou & Yannis Katsoulacos & Ekaterini Kyriazidou & Galateia Makri, 2020. "Competition policy and labor productivity growth: some new evidence," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 58(6), pages 3035-3076, June.
    17. Robert C. Allen, 2021. "The Interplay among Wages, Technology, and Globalization: The Labour Market and Inequality, 1620-2020," Working Papers 20210065, New York University Abu Dhabi, Department of Social Science, revised Jun 2021.
    18. Halmai, Péter, 2020. "A dezintegráció gazdaságtana. A brexit esete [The economics of disintegration. The case of Brexit]," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(9), pages 837-877.
    19. Felice, Emanuele & Carreras, Albert, 2012. "When did modernization begin? Italy's industrial growth reconsidered in light of new value-added series, 1911–1951," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 443-460.
    20. Crafts, Nicholas, 2021. "What Can We Learn from the UK’s Post-1945 Economic Reforms?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1370, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Competition; Productivity; Relative economic decline;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe

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