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Organized combat or structural advantage? The politics of inequality and the winner-take-all economy in the United Kingdom

Hopkin, Jonathan and Alexander Shaw, Kate (2016) Organized combat or structural advantage? The politics of inequality and the winner-take-all economy in the United Kingdom. Politics and Society, 44 (3). pp. 345-371. ISSN 0032-3292

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0032329216655316

Abstract

Since 1970 the United Kingdom, like the United States, has developed a “winner-take-all” political economy characterized by widening inequality and spectacular income growth at the top of the distribution. However, Britain’s centralized executive branch and relatively insulated policymaking process are less amenable to the kind of “organized combat” that Hacker and Pierson describe for the United States. Britain’s winner-take-all politics is better explained by the rise of political ideas favoring unfettered markets that, over time, produce a self-perpetuating structural advantage for the richest. That advantage is, in turn, justified and sustained by reference to the same ideas. Inequality growth in the United Kingdom has been primarily driven by the financialization of the economy that began under the Thatcher government and continued under New Labour. The survival of pro-finance policies through the financial crisis provides further evidence that lobbying by a weakened City of London was less decisive in shaping policy than the financial sector’s continuing structural advantage and the tenacity of its supporting political consensus.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://pas.sagepub.com/
Additional Information: © 2016 Sage
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Sets: Departments > Government
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2016 14:45
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2017 12:02
Projects: ES/J00070/1
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/67573

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