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UK Industrial Policy: Old Tunes on New Instruments?

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This paper discusses the current Labour government's industrial policy-as most recently reflected in its document on manufacturing strategy-in the context of industrial policy in the UK over the last 50 years and the form that it has taken elsewhere in Europe. It concludes that the thematic priorities for UK industrial policy in the 1960s-international competitiveness, innovation, competition, and skills-continue to be the key themes of UK policy today. The paper presents data that illustrate the gaps that exist in key indicators of performance between the UK and its main economic competitors. The difference between the 1960s and the 2000s is that there are new instruments of policy. Two areas in particular are focused on-competition policy and technology policy-and an attempt is made to assess the likely effectiveness of these new instruments. The paper concludes that the international evidence base for these new approaches is reasonably robust but that it is still too soon to tell if they are having the hoped-for impact on the performance of the UK economy.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-239
Number of pages19
JournalOxford Review of Economic Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2002

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