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Abstract

The global financial crisis of 2007–08 produced a sudden change in the economic policy of the United Kingdom (UK). Prior to the crisis, the government preached the gospel of price stability, fiscal prudence and light-touch financial regulation. In the wake of the crisis, the government countenanced unconventional monetary policies, a surge in public-sector borrowing and the need for a rethink of financial supervision. This article seeks to understand the significance of these changes using Peter Hall's theory of policy paradigms. Its central argument is that, contrary to appearances, the UK has not yet experienced a fundamental reordering of the instruments, institutions and aims of economic policy. Third-order change cannot be ruled out as the crisis unfolds but the economic ideas underpinning UK economic policy have, for better or worse, demonstrated remarkable resilience thus far.