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Forging Ahead, Falling Behind and Fighting Back
British Economic Growth from the Industrial Revolution to the Financial Crisis


  • Date Published: August 2018
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108438162

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About the Authors
  • To what extent has the British economy declined compared to its competitors and what are the underlying reasons for this decline? Nicholas Crafts, one of the world's foremost economic historians, tackles these questions in a major new account of Britain's long-run economic performance. He argues that history matters in interpreting current economic performance, because the present is always conditioned by what went before. Bringing together ideas from economic growth theory and varieties of capitalism to endogenous growth and cliometrics, he reveals the microeconomic foundations of Britain's economic performance in terms of the impact of institutional arrangements and policy choices on productivity performance. The book traces Britain's path from the first Industrial Revolution and global economic primacy through to its subsequent long-term decline, the strengths and weaknesses of the Thatcherite response, and the improvement in relative economic performance that was sustained to the eve of the financial crisis.

    • Expanded from a series of Ellen MacArthur Lectures, this is a reflection on more than forty years of research
    • Applies ideas from modern growth economics to the analysis of long-run British economic growth
    • Emphasises the importance of a historical perspective in understanding the institutions and policies that shape economic development
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'A magisterial bird's eye interpretation of the vast and complex literature on British economic performance since the Industrial Revolution till the present day. Only a scholar of Crafts's learning and wisdom could have accomplished so much in a short book.' Joel Mokyr, author of The Enlightened Economy: an Economic history of Britain, 1700–1850

    'Really superb - a magnificent achievement. It is difficult to find a more readable history of British economic growth from early industrialization until the present digital revolution. Crafts' book will be read by anyone interested in the interrelationship between economic performance and institutional legacies and government policies. His main conclusions represent an original voice that provides important lessons for the post-Brexit era.' Herman de Jong, University of Groningen

    'Essential reading on the UK experience of economic growth from Industrial Revolution to the recent financial crisis. A synthesis of the latest empirical research across a broad range of disciplines assessed through the framework of modern economics, this book identifies long-standing deficiencies in the operation of the economy, and shows 'history matters'.' Sara Horrell, University of Cambridge

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108438162
    • length: 160 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 152 x 9 mm
    • weight: 0.28kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus. 41 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The first Industrial Revolution
    3. American overtaking
    4. The interwar years: onwards and downwards
    5. Falling behind in the Golden Age
    6. From the Golden Age to the financial crisis
    7. Concluding comments.

  • Author

    Nicholas Crafts, University of Warwick
    Nicholas Crafts is Professor of Economic History at the University of Warwick. His many publications include The Great Depression of the 1930s: Lessons for Today (2013), co-edited with Peter Fearon, Work and Pay in 20th Century Britain (2007), co-edited with Ian Gazeley and Andrew Newell, and British Economic Growth during the Industrial Revolution (1985).

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