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What Can We Learn from the UK's Post-1945 Economic Reforms?

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  • Crafts, Nicholas

    (CAGE, University of Warwick and University of Sussex)

Abstract

This paper reviews the claim that economic policymakers in the post-Covid UK should learn the lessons of the 1940s. Post-1945 policies relating to delivering full employment, levelling up, upgrading social security, dealing with the public debt legacy, and addressing the productivity puzzle are considered. The paper finds many reasons to criticize 1940s’ policies. Although, superficially, outcomes appear to have been good, a closer look reveals significant failings notably concerning design of the welfare state and supply-side policy for growth. The main lesson from the 1940s is not to repeat the policy errors of those days.

Suggested Citation

  • Crafts, Nicholas, 2021. "What Can We Learn from the UK's Post-1945 Economic Reforms?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 579, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:579
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    File URL: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/centres/cage/manage/publications/wp579.2021.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. P. W. S. Andrews & Elizabeth Brunner, 1950. "Productivity And The Business Man," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(2), pages 197-225.
    2. S Broadberry & Nicholas Crafts, 1996. "British Economic Policy and Industrial Performance in the Early Post-War Period," CEP Discussion Papers dp0292, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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    13. Nicholas Crafts & Terence C. Mills, 2005. "TFP Growth in British and German Manufacturing, 1950-1996," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(505), pages 649-670, July.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    economic growth; policy reform; post-war settlement; welfare state. JEL Classification: N14; N34.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-

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