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2004 OECD Economic Surveys: United Kingdom 2004

image of OECD Economic Surveys: United Kingdom 2004

OECD’s 2004 review of the UK economy finds that performance has been impressive in recent years.  The main challenges are to contain instability in the housing market, to spend public money more efficiently, and to close the productivity gap with the best performing OECD countries.  This edition also looks at product market competition and sustainable development in the UK. 

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Policies to Enhance Potential Growth

While macroeconomic policy has been very successful in ensuring that output remains close to potential, the evidence is less compelling that structural policy has succeeded in lifting potential output growth closer to best performance.66 Productivity gaps with the best OECD performers remain large, as discussed in Chapter 1, despite a wide range of policies addressing this weakness. While employment rates are relatively high, they fall well short of the highest in the OECD, and the proportion of the population that is not engaged in the labour market at all has remained flat over recent decades, so that the major source of increased labour input has come through a reduction in structural unemployment. The remainder of this Chapter assesses what areas are most promising in promoting potential growth, considering in turn, labour utilisation and productivity. A summary of progress on structural reforms, following-up and updating recommendations from the previous Survey, can be found in Annex A...

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