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Inflation and the UK Labour Market


  • Nickell, Stephen


This paper explores the reasons why inflation is, and has been for four decades, endemic in Britain. We argue that there is a fundamental supply-side constraint in the economy which takes deficit and increases in inflation. The mix of monetary and fiscal policy, along with private sector demand shocks, determines which combination of these three outcomes then occurs. In Britain, the fundamental constraint has shifted adversely over the last two decades and we enumerate some of the factors underlying this shift. As a consequence, policy makers have been confronted with ever more difficult choices and this has resulted in a persistent problem of high unemployment and relatively high inflation. Copyright 1990 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Nickell, Stephen, 1990. "Inflation and the UK Labour Market," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(4), pages 26-35, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:6:y:1990:i:4:p:26-35

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Varieties of Crises and Their Dates," Introductory Chapters,in: This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly Princeton University Press.
    2. Ugo Panizza & Federico Sturzenegger & Jeromin Zettelmeyer, 2009. "The Economics and Law of Sovereign Debt and Default," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(3), pages 651-698, September.
    3. Portes, Richard, 2004. "Resolution of Sovereign Debt Crises: The New Old Framework," CEPR Discussion Papers 4717, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Barry Eichengreen, 1991. "Historical Research on International Lending and Debt," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 149-169, Spring.
    5. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1989. "A Constant Recontracting Model of Sovereign Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 155-178, February.
    6. Patrick Bolton, 2003. "Toward a Statutory Approach to Sovereign Debt Restructuring; Lessons From Corporate Bankruptcy Practice Around the World," IMF Working Papers 03/13, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Reinhart, Karmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2009. ""This time is different": panorama of eight centuries of financial crises," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 77-114, March.
    8. Mark L. J. Wright, 2004. "Competition and Sovereign Risk," 2004 Meeting Papers 6, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1989. "Sovereign Debt: Is to Forgive to Forget?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 43-50, March.
    10. Coase, R H, 1974. "The Lighthouse in Economics," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 357-376, October.
    11. Marc Flandreau & Norbert Gaillard & Ugo Panizza, 2009. "Conflicts of Interest, Reputation and the Interwar Debt Crisis: Banksters or Bad Luck?," IHEID Working Papers 02-2010, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies, revised Feb 2010.
    12. Flandreau, Marc & Flores, Juan-Huitzi, 2007. "Bonds and Brands : intermediaries and reputation in sovereign debt markets 1820-1830," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wp07-12, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
    13. Rui Pedro Esteves, 2007. "Quis custodiet quem? Sovereign Debt and Bondholders` Protection Before 1914," Economics Series Working Papers 323, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    14. Marc Flandreau & Juan H. Flores, 2012. "Bondholders versus bond-sellers? Investment banks and conditionality lending in the London market for foreign government debt, 1815-1913," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(4), pages 356-383, November.
    15. Flandreau, Marc & Flores, Juan H., 2009. "Bonds and Brands: Foundations of Sovereign Debt Markets, 1820–1830," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(03), pages 646-684, September.
    16. Flandreau, Marc & Flores, Juan H., 2012. "The Peaceful Conspiracy: Bond Markets and International Relations During the Pax Britannica," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(02), pages 211-241, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. David F. Hendry, 2001. "Modelling UK inflation, 1875-1991," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(3), pages 255-275.
    2. Hume, Michael & Sentance, Andrew, 2009. "The global credit boom: Challenges for macroeconomics and policy," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(8), pages 1426-1461, December.
    3. Philip Arestis & Malcolm Sawyer, 1997. "Reasserting the Role of Keynesian Policies for the New Millenium," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_207, Levy Economics Institute.
    4. Castle, Jennifer L. & Hendry, David F., 2009. "The long-run determinants of UK wages, 1860-2004," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 5-28, March.
    5. Kenny, Geoff & McGettigan, Donal, 1996. "Non-Traded, Traded and Aggregate Inflation In Ireland (Part 2)," Research Technical Papers 3B/RT/96, Central Bank of Ireland.
    6. Bhattarai, Keshab, 2016. "Unemployment–inflation trade-offs in OECD countries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 93-103.

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