Skip to main content

CEP discussion paper

The British Disease Overcome? Living Standards

The paper sets out two things. Firstly, average living standards in Britain are not that far out of line with other Western European countries. One source of data shows that by 193 the gap in manufacturing productivity between Britain and Germany, France and the Netherlands had been more or less eliminated. Secondly, the paper casts doubt on the link which is usually postulated to exist between the attainment of educational qualifications and levels of whole economy productivity. For the OECD countries there does, however, appear to be an association between the attainment of educational qualifications and the proportion of the adult population in employment. It is this which produces an association between educational qualifications and per capita GDP. In addition, there is no strong evidence that variations in productivity across different manufacturing industries in Germany and Britain are associated with the German superiority in the attainment of vocational qualifications.

Peter Robinson

August 1995     Paper Number CEPDP0260