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British economic policy and industrial performance in the early post-war period



This paper explores the implications of the post-war settlement for British industrial productivity performance during the period 1945-60. We argue that the exigencies of the situation at the end of the war precluded supply-side reforms which might have promoted faster growth. At the same time, however, the informal 'social contract' which emerged was conducive to low unemployment without inflation. Building upon our earlier findings for the 1930s, we show that the weakness of competition policy inhibited British catching-up on American productivity levels, while long-standing aspects of the British systems of human capital accumulation and industrial relations became more costly as industry adopted more American-style production methods. We support our conclusions with both econometric analysis and case studies

Topics: HF, H
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