Productivity in the UK’s low-wage industries

Concern about the UK’s productivity problem has become widespread. Fixing the UK’s productivity problem requires action for the lagging parts of the economy – low pay sectors such as retail and hospitality, the long tail of low-productivity firms, and the five million individuals in the UK lacking basic functional literacy or numeracy.

This briefing examines the productivity gap between Britain and its competitors. It is published alongside two other pieces of research commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation:

Commentary: The Economic Landscape of the UK

In a pioneering venture, Christopher Dow at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research helped establish the concept of demand management as the key objective of economic policy. He showed in his 1964 work that although demand management had prevented “the heavy unemployment that accompanied the pre-war trade cycle”, the price paid was that of excessive year-to-year fluctuations resulting from policies that ultimately became known as ‘Stop–Go’.

The long-term macroeconomic effects of lower migration to the UK

This paper looks at the possible scenarios of migration policy should the UK leave the EU. The paper uses an OLG model which brings together labour market, fiscal and other macroeconomic effects in one framework. It also adds a dynamic perspective, differentiates between natives and different categories of immigrants and captures age and qualification compositional effects.

Video highlights of our "Economics of the UK’s EU membership" event

Watch highlights of the debate between Lord Norman Lamont (former Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1990-93) and Sir Vince Cable (Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, 2010-15) along with interviews on our YouTube channel. This was part of our "Economics of the UK’s EU membership" conference held on 23 February 2016.

Also included in the playlist are 7 interviews with key speakers at the event.

UK and EU Brief - Trade Brief

Summary data for UK and EU Trade