Concentration in British Industry

Concentration in British Industry

Concentration in British Industry

Concentration in British Industry

Excerpt

This study of concentration in British industry has been conducted at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research with the assistance of a grant made available under the Conditional Aid programme of economic research.

The objects of the project as originally conceived were to measure changes in business concentration and the private collective regulation of British industry in the last half-century, and to identify as far as possible the factors responsible for those changes. As time passed, however, the investigations began to develop along two distinct though related lines. One investigation was concerned with the analysis of changes in concentration in industry as a whole, based on the size-distribution at various dates of companies quoted on the Stock Exchange. The preliminary results of this investigation were presented in a paper to the Royal Statistical Society by Mr P. E. Hart and Dr S. J. Prais in February 1956 (Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A, vol. 119, part 2, 1956).

The other investigation, whose results are presented in this study, was based on an analysis of the concentration-ratios indicating the shares of Census of Production Trades controlled by the largest business units in 1951. This was the concept of concentration adopted by Messrs Leak and Maizels in their paper to the Royal Statistical Society (Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, vol. 108, parts 1-2, 1945) which described the position in 1935. Indeed, the existence of these earlier data provided an opportunity to examine changes in the concentration of individual trades between 1935 and 1951.

Many persons have been associated with this project at different stages in its development. The conception and design of the project as a whole owe much to Dr J. B. Jefferys, who acted as its director until his departure from the Institute in the autumn of 1955. He was also responsible for the negotiations with the Board of Trade to obtain the basic statistical data for this study. Similarly, Mr P. E. Hart and Mr S. Kessler were, at an early stage in its development, concerned with the preparation of background material on individual industries.

The association of the present authors with this project began in the autumn of 1955, at a time when the statistical material was becoming available from the Board of Trade. Indeed, it is our first pleasure and duty to acknowledge the work of our predecessors, and the indispensable service rendered by the Board of Trade and its Census of Production Office in making available the necessary concentration data. It is obvious that without this statistical material the study could not have . . .

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