Chapter

What Have Two Decades of British Economic Reform Delivered?

Edited by David Card and Richard B. Freeman

in Seeking a Premier Economy

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2004 | ISBN: 9780226092843
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226092904 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226092904.003.0002
What Have Two Decades of British Economic Reform Delivered?

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In 1979, the United Kingdom was twelfth in per capita GDP among advanced OECD countries, well below Germany, France, and other European Union (EU) economies. In response to this weak economic performance, successive UK governments adopted policies designed to move the economy back to “premiere league” status. Beginning with Margaret Thatcher and continuing under John Major and Tony Blair, these reforms sought to increase the efficacy of labor and product markets and limit government and institutional involvement in economic decision making. This chapter shows that the post-1980 economic reforms have made the United Kingdom more market-friendly than its EU competitors and that, in the 1990s, the country ranked higher on some measures of freedom of markets than the United States. From the 1980s through the 1990s, the United Kingdom arrested the relative declines in GDP per capita and labor productivity that characterized earlier decades, and partially closed the gap in per capita income with France and Germany through relative gains in employment and hours.

Keywords: economic reforms; United Kingdom; per capita income; GDP; France; Germany; European Union; labor productivity; employment

Chapter.  22109 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Economics

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