Journal Article

Job quality and the economics of New Labour: a critical appraisal using subjective survey data

Andrew Brown, Andy Charlwood, Chris Forde and David Spencer

in Cambridge Journal of Economics

Published on behalf of Cambridge Political Economy Society

Volume 31, issue 6, pages 941-971
Published in print November 2007 | ISSN: 0309-166X
Published online October 2007 | e-ISSN: 1464-3545 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cje/bem028
Job quality and the economics of New Labour: a critical appraisal using subjective survey data

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  • Labour Standards: National and International
  • Demand and Supply of Labour
  • Welfare and Poverty
  • Economic Methodology

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This paper assesses the record on job quality during the early term of office of the New Labour government by interpreting, from a political economy perspective, changes in a variety of subjective measures of job quality taken from several different data sources. We find some improvements in job quality over the period 1998–2004; however we argue that these improvements have arisen not because of New Labour's policies towards the workplace but because of low and falling rates of unemployment. Despite recent improvements, a large number of workers in Britain remain in low quality jobs and, without a radical change of policy direction, sustained and substantial progress in the quality of work will remain elusive.

Keywords: Economics of happiness; Job quality; New Labour; Political economy; B50; I31; J8; J28

Journal Article.  11472 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Labour Standards: National and International ; Demand and Supply of Labour ; Welfare and Poverty ; Economic Methodology

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