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Ten Years of Mrs. T

  • Bean, Charles R
  • Symons, James

We argue that the 1970s were characterized by attempts to maintain a cooperative, low unemployment equilibrium in the face of considerable union power, through use of incomes policies and neo-corporatist machinery. The 1980s saw a shift away from this, towards direct measures to limit union power. This, together with the adoption of tight macroeconomic policies, explains the initial rise in unemployment. The reduction in union power also helps to explain the acceleration in productivity growth. The craft nature of much of the British union movement has led to a multiplication of bargaining units wihin firms. Bargaining in isolation a union can perceive overmanning and other restrictive practices as being in its intrests, resulting in low wages and productivity. A fall in union power results in a reduction in these inefficiencies and leads not only to a rise in productivity but also in wages.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 316.

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Date of creation: Apr 1989
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:316
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  1. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro, 1987. "Monopolistic Competition and the Effects of Aggregate Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 647-66, September.
  2. S.J. Prais & Karin Wagner, 1988. "Productivity and Management: the Training of Foremen in Britain and Germany," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 123(1), pages 34-46, February.
  3. repec:sae:niesru:v:126:y::i:1:p:57-70 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. 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.
  5. Newell, A. & Symons, J., 1989. "The Passing Of The Golden Age," Papers 347, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  6. Minford, Patrick & Ashton, Paul, 1991. "The Poverty Trap and the Laffer Curve--What Can the GHS Tell Us?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(2), pages 245-79, April.
  7. Robert E. Hall, 1986. "Market Structure and Macroeconomic Fluctuations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(2), pages 285-338.
  8. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J, 1988. "Cooperation, Harassment, and Involuntary Unemployment: An Insider-Outsider Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 167-88, March.
  9. Gottfries, Nils & Horn, Henrik, 1987. "Wage Formation and the Persistence of Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(388), pages 877-84, December.
  10. Bean, C. & Gavosto, A., 1989. "Outsiders, Capacity Shortages And Unemployment In The United Kingdom," Papers 332, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  11. repec:sae:niesru:v:97:y:1981:i:1:p:83-83 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. William H. Buiter & Marcus Miller, 1981. "The Thatcher Experiment: The First Two Years," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(2), pages 315-380.
  13. Wadhwani, Sushil & Wall, Martin, 1986. "The UK Capital Stock--New Estimates of Premature Scrapping," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(3), pages 44-55, Autumn.
  14. Willem H. Buiter & Marcus Miller, 1983. "Changing the Rules: Economic Consequences of the Thatcher Regime," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 14(2), pages 305-380.
  15. Newell, A. & Symons, J. S. V., 1987. "Corporatism, laissez-faire and the rise in unemployment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 567-601, April.
  16. Oswald, Andrew J & Turnbull, Peter J, 1985. "Pay and Employment Determination in Britain: What Are Labour," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(2), pages 80-97, Summer.
  17. Jackman, R & Roper, S, 1987. "Structural Unemployment," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 49(1), pages 9-36, February.
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