Europe's nations and regions

Thomas Sampson, 19 October 2017

While we can estimate the economic impact of Brexit, we do not yet understand what made people vote for it. This column argues that political pro-Brexit rhetoric conflates two distinct hypotheses that have different policy implications. If voters wanted to reclaim sovereignty from the EU, they may view a negative economic impact as a price worth paying. But, if 'left-behind' voters blamed the EU for their economic and social problems, post-Brexit policy should focus on the underlying causes of discontent.

Federica Liberini, Andrew Oswald, Eugenio Proto, Michela Redoano, 17 October 2017

There has been much debate on the determinants of the vote for Brexit. This column uses newly released data from the Understanding Society study to examine the characteristics of individuals who were for and against Brexit. Unhappiness contributed to the vote to leave the EU, but this was driven by feelings about individual financial situations rather than a general dissatisfaction with life. Brexit does not appear to have been caused by the old – only those under the age of 25 were substantially pro-Remain.  

Lorenzo Caliendo, Luca David Opromolla, Fernando Parro, Alessandro Sforza, 10 October 2017

The effects of international trade and of international migration have been central to the recent debate on economic integration. Evaluating trade and migration policies is challenging, however, because they often take place at the same time and reinforce each other, making it hard to distinguish their effects. This column uses a general equilibrium approach to quantify the effects of the 2004 EU enlargement. It finds that all EU countries gained from enlargement, but that the largest winners were the new member states, and in particular their low-skilled workers.

Nicholas Bloom, Paul Mizen, 05 October 2017

UK economic performance has been poor since the vote to leave the EU in June 2016, but has not been the catastrophe that many predicted. This column draws four results from the evidence gathered in the new Decision Maker Panel survey of around 2,500 businesses in the UK. While most firms expect a negative impact of Brexit on sales, investment and costs, only larger firms and those that are more exposed to international markets are likely to think that they might move part of their business abroad.

Vítor Constâncio, Philipp Hartmann, Peter McAdam, 29 September 2017

The European Central Bank’s 2017 Sintra Forum on Central Banking built a bridge from the currently strengthening recovery in Europe to longer-term growth issues for, and structural change in, advanced economies. In this column the organisers highlight some of the main points from the discussions, including what the sources of weak productivity and investment are and what type of economic polarisation tendencies the new growth model seems to be associated with.

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