New research has challenged the preconceived notion that Tories are better stewards of the economy, a perception that has been the basis of political support for the ruling party.
Economists Dr Amr Algarhi and Dr Alexander Tziamalis examined the performance of the UK economy from 1955 to 2019 and compared the strength of the Labor and Tory track records. The overall picture that emerges is that growth has been more stable during the times when the Labor Party was in power.
“Our main finding is that the UK economy has grown at a similar pace under either government, but labor administrations seem to cope better with recessions and show more consistent performance.”
The Conservative Party, on the other hand, has been disproportionately judged to preside over a shrinking economy: up from 17 under the Tories.
Not all recessions can be fully blamed on the government of the day. The authors of the research anticipate this criticism and show that if we ignore external shocks, like the financial crisis of 2008 and the oil shock of 1973, then Labor presides over only two quarters of negative growth, compared to 14 for the United States. preservatives.
Economic research has found that the US economy is doing much better under Democratic presidents than under Republicans. According to analysis by New York Times, since 1933 the economy has grown about 52% faster under Democratic presidents than under Republicans.
Although both are considered “business friendly” parties, Republicans and Conservatives have a poor record in preventing economic shocks, with 90 percent of the United States recessions and 75 percent of the UK recessions since the 1950s from their watch.
Why do right-wing parties tend to cope better with economic shocks? One potential explanation is that left-wing parties have been more pragmatic and willing to intervene in markets to mitigate slumps, while right-wing leaders have tended to place more faith in the ability of markets to self-correct. This was strongly evidenced during the COVID-19 pandemic, when right-wing populist leaders delayed public health measures out of commitment to “individual freedom.”
“Strong on the economy”
The Conservatives managed to win four successive elections in part because of their reputation as “economically strong”. This reputation has grown since 2008 by creating a narrative that blamed responsibility for the global financial crisis on public sector borrowing by Labor.
As the investigation into the coronavirus pandemic and the building cost of living crisis puts the Conservative Party’s reputation under pressure, this research provides an instructive long-term view on the party’s economic performance. As Dr Alghari and Tziamalis put it: “This should be food for thought for British voters the next time they try to decide where to put their cross.”
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