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British Economic Growth Since 1945: Relative Economic Decline .... and Renaissance?


  • Bean, Charles R
  • Crafts, Nicholas


The paper contains a thorough review of explanations for the weak British growth performance of the 1950s through the 1970s and an assessment of the long-term implications of the 1980s attempt to escape from relative decline. The analysis draws on recent work in growth theory and places institutions and government policy at the heart of the growth process. We illustrate the possible adverse effects of industrial relations and social contracts on pre-1979 performance and highlight the difficulty of measuring the role of human capital. We believe the jury is still out on the implications for long-term growth potential of the post-1979 policy changes.

Suggested Citation

  • Bean, Charles R & Crafts, Nicholas, 1995. "British Economic Growth Since 1945: Relative Economic Decline .... and Renaissance?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1092, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1092

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tyers,Rod & Anderson,Kym, 2011. "Disarray in World Food Markets," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521172318, May.
    2. Leamer, Edward E, 1987. "Paths of Development in the Three-Factor, n-Good General Equilibrium Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(5), pages 961-999, October.
    3. Steenblik, R. P. & Wigley, K. J., 1990. "Coal policies and trade barriers," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 351-367, May.
    4. Anderson, Kym, 1995. "Lobbying Incentives and the Pattern of Protection in Rich and Poor Countries," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 401-423, January.
    5. Winters, L Alan, 1987. "The Political Economy of the Agricultural Policy of Industrial," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 14(3), pages 285-304.
    6. Swinnen, Jo & van der Zee, Frans A, 1993. "The Political Economy of Agricultural Policies: A Survey," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 20(3), pages 261-290.
    7. Cassing, James H & Hillman, Arye L, 1986. "Shifting Comparative Advantage and Senescent Industry Collapse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 516-523, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephen Nickell & John Van Reenen, 2001. "Technological Innovation and Performance in the United Kingdom," CEP Discussion Papers dp0488, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. Crafts, Nicholas & Toniolo, Gianni, 2008. "European Economic Growth, 1950-2005: An Overview," CEPR Discussion Papers 6863, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Crafts, Nicholas, 2011. "British Relative Economic Decline Revisited," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 42, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    4. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3029-3084 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Crafts, Nicholas, 2000. "Development history," Economic History Working Papers 22384, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    6. Bakker, Gerben, 2004. "At the origins of increased productivity growth in services. Productivity, social savings and the consumer surplus of the film industry, 1900-1938," Economic History Working Papers 22348, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    7. David Metcalf, 2002. "Unions and Productivity, Financial Performance and Investment: International Evidence," CEP Discussion Papers dp0539, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    8. Barry Eichengreen & Albrecht Ritschl, 2009. "Understanding West German economic growth in the 1950s," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 3(3), pages 191-219, October.
    9. de Groot, H.L.F. & van Schaik, A.B.T.M., 1997. "Unemployment and catching up : Europe vis à vis the USA," Other publications TiSEM da7dcf42-9007-43df-a948-e, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.

    More about this item


    Economic Growth; Human Capital; Industrial Relations; Total Factor Productivity; UK;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • N14 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe


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