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Capacity utilisation and corporate restructuring: a comparative study of the US, UK and other EU countries


  • Ciaran Driver
  • David Shepherd


This paper compares and contrasts capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sectors of the US, UK and other EU countries over three decades. It argues that corporate governance and the pressures of globalisation have led to a tighter capacity stance in the UK but not generally in the US or Europe. The paper further explores the nature of the UK experience, in particular, the rival theories that efficiency in capital use has increased versus the view that firms have simply tightened their capacity stance in line with higher hurdle rates of return. The evidence of the paper supports the view that UK firms adopted a 'submissive' response to the pressures of globalisation by shutting capacity and retreating from new investment. Copyright 2005, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Ciaran Driver & David Shepherd, 2005. "Capacity utilisation and corporate restructuring: a comparative study of the US, UK and other EU countries," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(1), pages 119-140, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:29:y:2005:i:1:p:119-140

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Roberto Bande & Marika Karanassou, 2009. "Labour market flexibility and regional unemployment rate dynamics: Spain 1980-1995," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(1), pages 181-207, March.
    2. Malley, Jim & Moutos, Thomas, 2001. " Capital Accumulation and Unemployment: A Tale of Two "Continents."," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(1), pages 79-99, March.
    3. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173.
    4. Marika Karanassou & Hector Sala & Dennis J. Snower, 2003. "Unemployment in the European Union: Institutions, Prices, and Growth," Working Papers 493, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    5. Raurich, Xavier & Sala, Hector & Sorolla, Valeri, 2006. "Unemployment, Growth, And Fiscal Policy: New Insights On The Hysteresis Hypothesis," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(03), pages 285-316, June.
    6. Karanassou, Marika & Sala, Hector & Snower, Dennis, 2003. "Unemployment in the European Union: a dynamic reappraisal," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 237-273, March.
    7. Sujit Kapadia, 2003. "The Capital Stock and Equilibrium Unemployment: A New Theoretical Perspective," Economics Series Working Papers 181, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    8. M. Hashem Pesaran & Yongcheol Shin & Richard J. Smith, 2001. "Bounds testing approaches to the analysis of level relationships," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(3), pages 289-326.
    9. Marika Karanassou & Dennis J. Snower, 2004. "Unemployment Invariance," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 5(3), pages 297-317, August.
    10. Jaakko Kiander & Jaakko Pehkonen, 1999. "Finnish unemployment: observations and conjectures," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 94-108, Autumn.
    11. Jaakko Pehkonen, 1999. "Wage formation in Finland, 1960-1994," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 82-91, Autumn.
    12. Arestis, Philip & Mariscal, Iris Biefang-Frisancho, 2000. "Capital Stock, Unemployment and Wages in the UK and Germany," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 47(5), pages 487-503, November.
    13. Green-Pedersen, Christoffer, 2001. "Minority Governments and Party Politics: The Political and Institutional Background to the," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(01), pages 53-70, January.
    14. Philip Arestis & Michelle Baddeley & Malcolm Sawyer, 2007. "The Relationship Between Capital Stock, Unemployment And Wages In Nine Emu Countries," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 125-148, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ciaran Driver & Grahame Thompson, 2002. "Corporate Governance and Democracy: The Stakeholder Debate Revisited," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 6(2), pages 111-130, May.

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