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Public and Private Ownership of British Industry 1820–1990$
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James Foreman-Peck and Robert Millward

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203599

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203599.001.0001

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The Performance of the Nationalized Industries 1950–1985

The Performance of the Nationalized Industries 1950–1985

(p.300) 9 The Performance of the Nationalized Industries 1950–1985
Public and Private Ownership of British Industry 1820–1990

James Foreman-Peck

Robert Millward

Oxford University Press

Nationalisation in the 1940s in Britain was the product of a consensus to increase the size of business units in the network industries. This chapter looks at the industries' performance over the whole of the post-war period. Because of the state monopoly form of ownership, direct comparison of costs and productivity with other ownership forms in the same industry in this period are not possible and several and indirect measures of performance have to be used. The main focus of the chapter are, first that the institutional arrangements from the very beginning contained inherent contradictions, secondly that these arrangements allowed governments to use the industries as an instrument of real income redistribution, but that thirdly, the underlying productivity growth of the industries compared favourably with private industry in Britain and with the fuel and transport sectors in the United States.

Keywords:   state monopoly, ownership, costs, productivity, performance, institutional arrangements, governments, income redistribution, private industry, Britain

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