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Competition and Innovation in 1950s Britain


  • S. Broadberry
  • N. Crafts


We find little support for the Schumpeterian hypothesis of a positive relationship between market power and innovation in 1950's Britain even though many economists and policymakers accepted it at the time. Price-fixing agreements were very widespread prior to the 1956 Restrictive Practices Act and they seem to have had adverse effects on costs and productivity. Competition policy appears to have been much too lenient but the productivity problems of British industry at this time are best viewed as arising largely from the difficulties of reaping the benefits of innovation rather than from a failure to innovate per se.

Suggested Citation

  • S. Broadberry & N. Crafts, 2001. "Competition and Innovation in 1950s Britain," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(1), pages 97-118.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:bushst:v:43:y:2001:i:1:p:97-118 DOI: 10.1080/713999207

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    Cited by:

    1. Crafts, Nicholas, 2012. "British relative economic decline revisited: The role of competition," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 17-29.
    2. Crafts, Nicholas, 2011. "British Relative Economic Decline Revisited," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 42, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    3. Degner, Harald, 2010. "Windows of technological opportunity: do technological booms influence the relationship between firm size and innovativeness?," FZID Discussion Papers 15-2010, University of Hohenheim, Center for Research on Innovation and Services (FZID).
    4. Steven Toms & John Wilson, 2012. "Revisiting Chandler on the Theory of the Firm," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics and Theory of the Firm, chapter 22 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N0 - Economic History - - General
    • B2 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe


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