The United Kingdom's labor market policies place it in a kind of institutional middle ground between the United States and Continental Europe. After almost two decades of economic liberalism, the election of Tony Blair's Labour party in 1997 set Britain on a reformist course that sought to move people off of dependency and into work. With funding from the Foundation, a team of British researchers conducted a group of case studies of firms in the United Kingdom. The team observed how institutional and policy factors result in variations in employment outcomes.
The study focused on five different industries, examining several firms within each that differ from one another in key dimensions. The investigators looked at hospitals that are publicly run and those run by private contractors, at hotels and retail establishments in different labor markets, and both unionized and non-unionized food processing plants and call centers. The case studies included eight firms from each of the five industries and will feature interviews with managers, employee representatives, and workers.