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The Political Economy of Nationalisation in Britain, 1920–1950

  • Economics
  • Law
  • Political Science


In this 1995 study of the causes of nationalisation, experts in British industrial history analyse the public ownership debates, and explain how many well-informed and moderate groups came to believe that the public ownership of certain major industries would be economically beneficial. During Attlee's Labour governments of 1945–51 a number of important industries, including coal, electricity, the railways and gas were taken into public ownership, and legislation was passed for the nationalisation of the steel industry. It was then argued that nationalisation would lead to an improvement in the efficiency of these key sectors, on which the rest of British industry depended for inputs. This study examines the historical issues and uses detailed case studies of industries to explore the public ownership debate.

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