National Productivity Week 27th November 2023 | Visit Website

A diverse community of
leading experts, policymakers
and practitioners

The Institute’s key research themes
are led by ten academic partners
spread across the UK.

Businesses are crucial to solving
the UK’s productivity problems.

We’re a UK-wide research
organisation exploring what
productivity means for business

Businesses are crucial to solving
the UK’s productivity problems.

UK’s Industrial Policy: Learning from the past?

The UK’s industrial policy since the 1970s has been characterised by frequent policy reversals and announcements, driven by political cycles, while multiple uncoordinated public bodies, departments and levels of government are responsible for delivery. This paper explores the impacts of these deficiencies of the industrial policymaking landscape in the UK and contrasts them with the experiences of other advanced economies.

A consequence of the policy inconsistency and poor coordination identified here is that UK industrial policy lacks adequate information feedback channels from outcomes to the policy process; there is a failure to learn or to build on successes.
Some potential options for reform, embedding a more systematic mechanism of policy updating, are also explored, considering lessons from other countries that could be feasibly implemented in the UK.

Authors Diane Coyle, Adam Muhtar


  • Knowledge Capital




D. Coyle, A. Muhtar (2021) UK’s Industrial Policy: Learning from the Past? Productivity Insights Paper No. 002, The Productivity Institute.