Job quality and the economics of New Labour: a critical appraisal using subjective survey data

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

June 1, 2007


This paper assesses the record on job quality during the early term of office of the New Labour government by interpreting, from a political economy perspective, changes in a variety of subjective measures of job quality taken from several different data sources. We find some improvements in job quality over the period 1998-2004; however we argue that these improvements have arisen not because of New Labour’s policies towards the workplace but because of low and falling rates of unemployment. Despite recent improvements, a large number of workers in Britain remain in low quality jobs and, without a radical change of policy direction, sustained and substantial progress in the quality of work will remain elusive.

Published in

Cambridge Journal of Economics


Volume: 31 (6):941-971




Originally [Advance Access], Oct.2007

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