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Unemployment in Interwar Britain: Dole or Doldrums?

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  • Eichengreen, Barry

Abstract

Several controversial recent studies seek to explain interwar Britain's high unemployment rate in terms of the generosity of her unemployment-insurance system. All of these studies are macroeconomic in nature. In contrast, this paper employs a micro economic sample of some 2,400 adult males to analyze the relationship of unemployment benefits to unemployment in 1929-31. The author find s a generally positive but small association between unemployment inc idence and the estimated benefit/wage ratio, but one limited largely to secondary workers. The contribution of insurance benefits to inter war unemployment turns out to be small in the context of the Great De pression. Copyright 1987 by Royal Economic Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Eichengreen, Barry, 1987. "Unemployment in Interwar Britain: Dole or Doldrums?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(4), pages 597-623, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:39:y:1987:i:4:p:597-623
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    Cited by:

    1. Bayoumi, Tamim & Bordo, Michael D, 1998. "Getting Pegged: Comparing the 1879 and 1925 Gold Resumptions," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(1), pages 122-149, January.
    2. James M. Nason & Shaun P. Vahey, 2006. "Interwar U.K. unemployment: the Benjamin and Kochin hypothesis or the legacy of “just” taxes?," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2006-04, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    3. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 2002. "The Great U.K. Depression: A Puzzle and Possible Resolution," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(1), pages 19-44, January.
    4. Naveen Srinivasan & Pratik Mitra, 2016. "Interwar Unemployment in the UK and US: Old and New Evidence," Working Papers 2016-149, Madras School of Economics,Chennai,India.
    5. Harold L. Cole & Lee E. Ohanian, 2002. "The Great U.K. Depression: A Puzzle and Possible Resolution," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(1), pages 19-44, January.

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