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Seeking a Premier EconomyThe Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000$
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David Card, Richard Blundell, and Richard B. Freeman

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780226092843

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226092904.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

What Have Two Decades of British Economic Reform Delivered?

What Have Two Decades of British Economic Reform Delivered?

(p.9) 1 What Have Two Decades of British Economic Reform Delivered?
Seeking a Premier Economy
David Card, Richard B. Freeman
University of Chicago Press

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

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