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Unemployment in Britain: A European Success Story

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  • Christopher A. Pissarides

Abstract

Unemployment in Britain has fallen from high European-style levels to US levels. I argue that the key reasons are first the reform of monetary policy, in 1993 with the adoption of inflation targeting and in 1997 with the establishment of the independent Monetary Policy Committee, and second the decline of trade union power. I interpret the reform of monetary policy as an institutional change that reduced inflationary expectations in the face of falling unemployment. The decline of trade union power contributed to the control of wage inflation. The major continental economies failed to match UK performance because of institutional rigidities, despite low inflation expectations.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher A. Pissarides, 2003. "Unemployment in Britain: A European Success Story," CEP Discussion Papers dp0600, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0600
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Hysteresis and the European Unemployment Problem," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1986, Volume 1, pages 15-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Reinhold Kosfeld & Christian Dreger & Hans-Friedrich Eckey, 2008. "On the stability of the German Beveridge curve: a spatial econometric perspective," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 42(4), pages 967-986, December.
    2. Carrillo-Tudela, Carlos & Hobijn, Bart & She, Powen & Visschers, Ludo, 2016. "The extent and cyclicality of career changes: Evidence for the U.K," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 18-41.
    3. Christopher Crowe, 2005. "Macroeconomic Assessment: Interest Rates, Taxes and Spending," CEP Election Analysis Papers 003, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    4. Sergio Destefanis & Giuseppe Mastromatteo, 2015. "The Beveridge Curve in the OECD Before and After the Crisis," Discussion Papers 4_2015, CRISEI, University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
    5. Crowe, Christopher, 2005. "Macroeconomic assessment: interest rates, taxes and spending," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 57993, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Peiró, Amado & Belaire-Franch, Jorge & Gonzalo, Maria Teresa, 2012. "Unemployment, cycle and gender," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 1167-1175.
    7. Hobijn, Bart & Sahin, Aysegül, 2009. "Job-finding and separation rates in the OECD," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 104(3), pages 107-111, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    unemployment in UK; monetary policy; Beveridge curve; Phillips curve;

    JEL classification:

    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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