Holger Breinlich, Elsa Leromain, Dennis Novy, Thomas Sampson, 12 February 2019

Media reports suggest that some UK firms have started to move production abroad in anticipation of Brexit. Using data on announcements of new foreign investment transactions, this column reports evidence that the Brexit vote has led to a 12% increase in the number of new investments made by UK firms in EU27 countries. At the same time, new investments in the UK from the EU27 have declined by 11%. The results are consistent with the idea that UK firms are offshoring production to the EU27 because they expect Brexit to increase barriers to trade and migration, making the UK a less attractive place to invest and create jobs. 

Meredith Crowley, 01 February 2019

Meredith Crowley, International Trade Economist at the University of Cambridge, looks at the US response to Brexit.

Meredith Crowley, Oliver Exton, Lu Han, 21 January 2019

Uncertainty over the future of the world trading system is at its highest since the introduction of GATT in 1947. The US-China trade war and suggestions that President Trump intends to withdraw the US from the WTO have significantly raised uncertainty in the global economy. Meanwhile, uncertainty over the future of the UK-EU trading relationship spiked on 15 January when the UK parliament overwhelmingly rejected the negotiated terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. This column documents that an earlier period of heightened trade policy uncertainty for the UK – the period following the Brexit referendum in June 2016 – depressed the UK’s international trading activity, with some UK businesses choosing to not enter the EU market while others chose to exit. 

Simon Wren-Lewis, 16 January 2019

Nicholas Crafts, 15 January 2019

Brexit in 2019 and the banking crisis in 2007 to 2009 are usually seen as unrelated events. This column argues that they are in fact closely connected. The austerity policies embarked on in response to the fiscal damage resulting from the banking crisis triggered the protest votes of left-behind voters, which at the margin allowed Leave to win the referendum vote. The implication is that the economic costs of the banking crisis are much larger than is usually supposed.

Toke Aidt, Jagjit Chadha, Hamid Sabourian, 11 January 2019

Unanimous agreement on the UK’s Brexit question is clearly not going to be achievable. But as this column argues, using a sequential voting system, it is within reach to structure the democratic process so that a voting procedure is fair to all views and the outcome is preferred by a majority to any other alternatives.

Dennis Snower, Rolf Langhammer, 07 January 2019

David Comerford, Sevi Rodriguez Mora, 04 January 2019

Populists in Europe are contesting the perceived benefits of economic integration between countries. This column uses data on trade frictions to estimate the long-run impact of trade frictions on GDP if countries in Europe were to be more or less integrated. Negative between-country impacts, such as from Brexit or an EU collapse, imply a GDP reduction of between 1-3%. The potential trade benefits of a 'United States of Europe', on the other hand, may be an order of magnitude greater for its members.

John Van Reenen, 07 December 2018

Hugo Rojas-Romagosa, Johannes Bollen, 07 December 2018

Intra-EU migration stocks more than doubled between 1960 and 2015, with the EU's principle of free movement of people seen as one of the main drivers. The column shows that free movement on average increased the stock of intra-EU migrants by 28%, representing around one quarter of total intra-EU migration during this period. The free movement of people has had a substantial impact on migration originating from both old and new member states, with the vast majority of migrants going to the old member states. 

Arthur Dyevre, Monika Glavina, Nicolas Lampach, Michal Ovádek, Wessel Wijtvliet, 22 November 2018

Twenty-eight months after the Brexit referendum, EU laws, regulations, and doctrines continue to apply to UK residents and state officials. This column shows that UK judges and litigants have already started to move away from EU law in anticipation of Brexit, with judges submitting 22–23% fewer questions to the European Court of Justice since the referendum. The broader lesson for the future of supranational legal systems is that effective disintegration may precede formal withdrawal, or may occur even if formal withdrawal is delayed or does not come about.

Ana Fernandes, L Alan Winters, 21 November 2018

Understanding the effect of exchange rate movements on international trade is a major issue for economists and policymakers. This column shows that Portuguese exporters absorbed little of the effect of the large and unanticipated depreciation of sterling following the Brexit referendum into their markups – the vast bulk of the effect of the depreciation was visited on UK users and consumers of Portuguese goods. The lesson for the UK as it contemplates life after Brexit is that it is, in the technical sense, a ‘small open economy’ and will have little ability to negotiate or otherwise achieve better trading terms.

Nicholas Bloom, Scarlet Chen, Paul Mizen, 16 November 2018

The majority of businesses in the UK report that Brexit is a source of uncertainty. This column uses survey responses from around 3,000 businesses to evaluate the level and impact of this uncertainty. It finds that Brexit uncertainty has already reduced growth in investment by 6 percentage points and employment by 1.5 percentage points, and is likely to reduce future UK productivity by half of a percentage point.

Barry Eichengreen, Rebecca Mari, Gregory Thwaites, 05 November 2018

In the UK’s 2016 referendum on EU membership, young voters were more likely than their elders to vote Remain. Applying new methods to a half century of data, this column shows that this pattern reflects both ageing and cohort effects.  Although voters become more Eurosceptical as they age, recent cohorts are also more pro-European than their predecessors, which will offset at least in part the ageing of the electorate going forward. However, the existence of large nationwide swings in sentiment that have little to do with either seasoning or cohort effects suggests that demographic trends are unlikely to be the decisive determinants of future changes in European sentiment. 

Holger Breinlich, Elsa Leromain, Dennis Novy, Thomas Sampson, Ahmed Usman, 10 October 2018

How did the stock market react to the Brexit referendum of June 2016? This column shows that initial stock price movements on the day after the Leave vote were driven by fears of an economic slowdown in the UK and by a sharp devaluation of the pound. Later movements following two speeches by Theresa May in October 2016 and January 2017 were more closely correlated with potential future changes to tariffs and non-tariff barriers on UK-EU trade. This indicates that these speeches led investors to update their assessment of the likelihood of a hard Brexit.

Jonathan Portes, 04 October 2018

A report by the UK Government’s independent Migration Advisory Committee draws on new research on the impact of immigration to the UK, particularly on migration, training, and the public finances. This column presents some of the findings from the report.

Ronald Davies, Joseph Francois, 01 October 2018

With increasing frustration over the situation as ‘Brexit Day’ approaches, some political pundits are suggesting that an Irish exit from the EU would benefit Ireland. This column assesses the macroeconomic impact of a range of scenarios and argues that while any version of Brexit, with or without Irexit, worsens the Irish economic situation relative to the status quo, economically speaking the best option for Ireland is to stay within the fold of the EU while hoping for and working towards the best in terms of post-Brexit UK economic integration with Europe.

Lubos Pastor, Pietro Veronesi, 28 September 2018

The vote for Brexit and the election of protectionist Donald Trump to the US presidency – two momentous markers of the ongoing pushback against globalisation – led some to question the rationality of voters. This column presents a framework that demonstrates how the populist backlash against globalisation is actually a rational voter response when the economy is strong and inequality is high. It highlights the fragility of globalisation in a democratic society that values equality.

Ronald Davies, Zuzanna Studnicka, 26 September 2018

Stock market returns provide a useful way of measuring investor expectations. The column uses stock return data following the Brexit referendum to show a persistent negative shift in sentiment towards multinationals with at-risk global value chains. In particular, even compared to others in the same industry, firms with a UK or EU focus underperform. This suggests the potential for targeted support policies.

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