NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Did the Thatcher Reforms Change British Labour Performance?

David G. Blanchflower, Richard B. Freeman

NBER Working Paper No. 4384
Issued in June 1993
NBER Program(s):   LS

In this paper we evaluate the success of policies that were implemented in the 1980s that were designed to improve the workings of the UK labour market. Our primary conclusion is that the Thatcherite reforms succeeded in their goals of weakening union power; may have marginally increased employment and wage responsiveness to market conditions and may have increased self-employment. They were accompanied by a substantial improvement in the labour market position of women. But the reforms failed to improve the responsiveness of real wages to unemployment; they were associated with a slower transition from nonemployment to employment for men; a devastating loss in full-time jobs for male workers and produced substantial seemingly noncompetitive increases in earnings inequality.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w4384

Published: Is the British Labour Market Different, ed. R. Barrell, Cambridge University Press, 1994.

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