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Competition and innovation in 1950’s Britain


  • Broadberry, Stephen
  • Crafts, Nicholas


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. Pricefixing 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

  • Broadberry, Stephen & Crafts, Nicholas, 2000. "Competition and innovation in 1950’s Britain," Economic History Working Papers 22381, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:22381

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    7. Danny Quah, 1996. "Twin Peaks: Growth and Convergence in Models of Distribution Dynamics," CEP Discussion Papers dp0280, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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    Cited by:

    1. Valerio Cerretano, 2009. "The Treasury, Britain's postwar reconstruction, and the industrial intervention of the Bank of England, 1921-9 -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 62(s1), pages 80-100, August.
    2. Crafts, Nicholas, 2012. "British relative economic decline revisited: The role of competition," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 17-29.
    3. Crafts, Nicholas, 2011. "British Relative Economic Decline Revisited," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 42, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    4. David Chambers, 2009. "Gentlemanly capitalism revisited: a case study of the underpricing of initial public offerings on the London Stock Exchange, 1946-86 -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 62(s1), pages 31-56, August.
    5. 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).
    6. 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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