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Social Democracy and Distributive Conflict in the UK, 1950-2010

Author

Listed:
  • Carlo V. Fiorio

    () (University of Milan)

  • Simon Mohun

    () (Queen Mary, University of London)

  • Roberto Veneziani

    () (Queen Mary, University of London)

Abstract

In the last three decades, two questions have been central for the Left. Is there a future for electoral socialism and social democracy? And, is it any longer possible to promote a significant redistribution of income in favour of labour? Political and economic events seem to suggest negative answers. In his influential work, Adam Przeworski suggests that this is an irreversible trend that makes it impossible in the long-run to promote genuinely socialist objectives in capitalist democracies. In particular, the structural dependence of labour on capital severely constrains feasible income distributions. In this paper, a detailed quantitative and qualitative analysis of the post-war UK economy is provided which casts doubts on the structural dependence thesis. A short run profit-squeeze mechanism seems to exist, but income shares are more variable than the structural dependence argument suggests, and the power resources available to the two main classes in the economy are among the key determinants of distributive outcomes, different political-economic equilibria corresponding to different configurations of the balance of power between the two classes.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlo V. Fiorio & Simon Mohun & Roberto Veneziani, 2013. "Social Democracy and Distributive Conflict in the UK, 1950-2010," Working Papers 705, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:wp705
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Charpe, Matthieu & Flaschel, Peter & Hartmann, Florian & Malikane, Christopher, 2014. "Segmented Labor Markets and the Distributive Cycle: A Roadmap towards Inclusive Growth," MPRA Paper 62832, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Daniele Tavani & Luca Zamparelli, 2013. "Endogenous Technical Change, Employment and Distribution in the Goodwin Model," IMK Working Paper 127-2013, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    3. Bengtsson, Erik & Waldenström, Daniel, 2015. "Capital Shares and Income inequality: Evidence from the Long Run," IZA Discussion Papers 9581, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Erik Bengtsson & Daniel Waldenstršm, 2016. "Capital shares and income inequality: Evidence from the long run," Working Papers 0092, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    5. Codrina Rada & David Kiefer, 2013. "Distribution-utilization interactions: a race to the bottom among OECD countries," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, University of Utah 2013_13, University of Utah, Department of Economics.
    6. Bengtsson, Erik & Waldenström, Daniel, 2015. "Capital shares and income inequality: Evidence from the long run," CEPR Discussion Papers 11022, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social democracy; Income distribution; Structural dependence thesis;

    JEL classification:

    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining

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