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Colliery Closures and the Decline of the UK Coal Industry

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In the 10 years after the 1984–5 miners' strike, employment by British Coal and the number of pits it operated fell by more than 90%. In this paper data for each of British Coal's collieries are used to analyse the pattern of pit closure. The pits that closed were systematically smaller, less productive and less profitable than those that survived. A model is estimated to capture the degree to which closure decisions reflect performance variables, and it is found that low productivity was the most important indicator of vulnerability to closure. However, closures were by no means exclusively concentrated on the worst performers, and many of the pits that were closed at the end of the period had achieved very large increases in productivity over the years preceding closure.
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Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: 1: Corpus Christi College, Oxford, 2: Department of Economics, University College London,

Publication date: 01 June 1997

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