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The Scottish economy [April 1981]

Bell, D.N.F. and Fraser, N. and Hamilton, D. and Harrigan, F. and Jowett, A. and Kirwan, F. and McGilvray, J. and O'Donnell, N. and Orton, I. and Simpson, D. and Tait, E. and Walker, J. and Wingfield, A. (1981) The Scottish economy [April 1981]. Quarterly Economic Commentary, 6 (4). pp. 5-26. ISSN 0306-7866

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The data analysed in this paper will show that whilst the end of the recession may be approaching, there is no strong evidence of any sustained or substantial recovery. Indeed, as highlighted in the UK section, there is no clear evidence that the mechanisms upon which the government are relying will generate a significant upturn. The UK economy is notoriously unresponsive to price signals, and while one should support governments efforts to increase this sensitivity, historical evidence is at best equivocal on the efficacy of this approach. For example, while the response of manufacturing investment to changes in output is unambiguously positive, the response to changes in the cost of capital is unclear. Indeed the Treasury have been unable to establish a significant relationship between manufacturing investment and capital cost and, in consequence, base their forecasts on the assumption that such a link exists. Further, any positive effects which might stem from a fall in interest rates will be dampened by the considerable spare capacity in the manufacturing sector brought about by the depth of the current recession.