The Political Economy of Industrial Strategy in the UK

From Productivity Problems to Development Dilemmas

Edited by Craig Berry, Julie Froud, Tom Barker

£70.00  |  $99.00
ISBN 9781788213394
£24.99  |  $35.00
ISBN 9781788213400
£24.99  |  $35.00
ISBN 9781788213417
368 pages   |  234 x 156mm   |  25 March 2021


"This is an excellent and wide-ranging look at the problems and possibilities of Britain’s approach to industrial policy. The post-Covid recovery makes it especially relevant." – Duncan Weldon, Britain Economics Correspondent, The Economist

"An important contribution to the academic literature on UK industrial policy, and more broadly, to discussions on change and continuity in economic policy ... this book will appeal to a broad audience. Researchers and students interested in economic policy and the persistence of neoliberalism will find it useful. Moreover, policy makers, international organizations and NGOs will find important insights for future policy designs." – Competition and Change

"In the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, departure from the EU and the Covid-19 pandemic shocks, this book is one of the most impressive and convincing attempts to demonstrate how industrial policy can help deal with the enormous challenges facing the UK – from reducing social, economic and geographical inequalities, to decarbonising the economy and creating high-quality employment opportunities – and also clearly shows the necessity of a new economic imaginary in which a progressive industrial policy can succeed." – Valbona Muzaka, King's College London

"The industrial strategy debate in the UK tends to be framed narrowly in terms of finding solutions to the 'productivity puzzle'. But this book offers a breath of fresh air and a compelling case for framing the debate in far more capacious terms. In short, it demonstrates how a progressive industrial strategy can help to fashion an inclusive well-being economy."  – Kevin Morgan, Professor of Governance and Development, Cardiff University


Does the UK still have an industrial strategy? How should we understand the renewed interest within government in industrial policy – and now its apparent reversal – in recent years? This collection of essay by leading academics and practitioners including Victoria Chick, Kate Bell, Simon Lee, Karel Williams, Susan Himmelweit, Laurie Macfarlane and Ron Martin – among many others– considers the effectiveness of recent industrial policies in addressing the UK’s economic malaise. In offering a broad political economy perspective on economic statecraft and development in the UK, the book focuses on the political and institutional foundations of industrial policy, the value of "foundational" economic practices, the challenge of greening capitalism and addressing regional inequalities, and the new financial and corporate governance structures required to radicalize industrial strategy.


Introduction: The political economy of UK industrial policy
Craig Berry, Julie Froud and Tom Barker

Part I The historical context
1. Prisoner of the past: British industrial policy from empire to Brexit
James Silverwood and Richard Woodward
2. Industrial policy, then and now: historicizing the 2017 White Paper
Victoria Chick
3. The developmental state in England: the role of the Treasury in industrial policy
Simon Lee

Part II Rethinking economic foundations
4. The foundational economy and industrial strategy
Julie Froud, Sukhdev Johal and Karel Williams
5. The false promise of productivity
Paul Lewis
6. A "return to normal times"? Industrial strategy and reproductive labour
Isaac Stanley

Part III The end of laissez-faire?
7. Business-centric governance in UK industrial policy: neoliberal wine in interventionist bottles?
Craig Berry and Tom Barker
8. Reconciling a post-Brexit trade and industrial strategy
Matthew Louis Bishop
9. Financing industrial strategy: the role of state investment banks
Laurie Macfarlane

Part IV Manufacturing and innovation
10. Risk management and reduction in global supply chains and production networks: reshoring and rightshoring versus offshoring
John R. Bryson, Vida Vanchan and Shihao T. Zhou
11. Making work: The knowledge economy, automation, and industrial strategy
Nick O’Donovan
12. Industrial strategy and science and innovation policy
Richard Jones

Part V Firms and workers
13. Broadening the ambit of industrial strategy to include latent demand and corporate governance
Ciaran Driver
14. Expanding skills and workplace capacity: a relational approach to industrial strategy
Alison Fuller and Lorna Unwin
15. Why an industrial strategy needs trade unions
Kate Bell

Part VI Mainstreaming inequality and low pay
16. Where should low-wage sectors feature in an industrial strategy?
John Forth and Ana Rincon-Aznar
17. Care as investment in social infrastructure
Susan Himmelweit
18. Reducing inequality as industrial policy: finding productivity gains in the "overlooked economy"
Ed Pemberton

Part VII The local dimension
19. The policy challenges of "levelling up"
Ron Martin, Peter Sunley and Ben Gardiner
20. Local industrial policy and "left-behind" places
John Tomaney and Andy Pike
21. Looking North: the multi-level governance of economic policy
Arianna Giovannini and Luke Raikes

Part VIII Towards a greener future?
22. Sustainability dilemmas and Britain’s national industrial ambitions: Brexit, electric cars, and a petrol and diesel ban
Dan Coffey and Carole Thornley
23. Industrial policy in the context of climate emergency: the urgent need for a Green New Deal
Daniel Bailey
24. Clean and lean: an industrial strategy for an era of globalisation and climate change
Dustin Benton
Conclusion: building a progressive industrial strategy amid and after Covid-19
Craig Berry

Author Information

Craig Berry is Reader in Political Economy at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Julie Froud is Professor of Financial Innovation in the Alliance Manchester Business School at the University of Manchester.

Tom Barker has worked as a teaching associate and/or research assistant at the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and Manchester Metropolitan University.

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