Pissarides, Christopher (2003) Unemployment in Britain: a European success story. CEP discussion paper; CEPDP0600, 600. Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.
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Unemployment in Britain has fallen from high European-style levels to US levels. I argue that the key reasons are first the reform of monetary policy, in 1993 with the adoption of inflation targeting and in 1997 with the establishment of the independent Monetary Policy Committee, and second the decline of trade union power. I interpret the reform of monetary policy as an institutional change that reduced inflationary expectations in the face of falling unemployment. The decline of trade union power contributed to the control of wage inflation. The major continental economies failed to match UK performance because of institutional rigidities, despite low inflation expectations.
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