F**K Business: Brexit and the deep freeze between business and politics in populist nationalism

10 Dec

Business has been f**ked! F**k government! The relationship between business and politics is broken – can it be fixed? This contribution, by Daniel Kinderman (University of Delaware), part book review and part blog post, reflects on the tense and sometimes openly conflictual relationship between business and politics in populist nationalism. Iain Anderson’s book F**K Business: … Continued

Hard, soft or none at all: what the election result will mean for Brexit

9 Dec

The General Election will set Britain on the path to a hard or softer Brexit – or perhaps no Brexit at all. Ros Taylor (LSE) explains what each possible outcome means for the next stage of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Conservative majority Supposedly, a vote for the Conservatives is a vote to ‘get … Continued

What are the economic forces polarising the UK?

9 Dec

Economic performance varies widely between different places in the UK, writes Henry G. Overman (LSE). There is a broad North-South pattern, but also substantial variation within those areas. In some measures, the performance gap has widened since the financial crisis. Austerity too reduced redistribution and so it is partly responsible for the recent widening of spatial … Continued

Many voters do not believe economists are impartial

6 Dec

More than half of Leave voters distrust the opinions of economists, and men, older voters and the less educated are more likely to mistrust them. Nonetheless, more than half of all voters  say they want to find out more about the economic effects of leaving the EU. Alvin Birdi (University of Bristol), Ashley Lait (Economics … Continued

It’s ridiculous! The disarray of our fiscal system leaves voters short-changed

6 Dec

Our fiscal policies are in disarray, and this will leave voters short-changed. Jagjit S. Chadha (NIESR) explains that fiscal policy planning has just taken a huge retrograde step with the delay in a budget, spending plan and official economic forecast. Furthermore, he argues that whatever government we end up with is unlikely to reach its … Continued

Will Johnson’s Brexit deal bring choppy waters to Holyhead?

4 Dec

The new Withdrawal Agreement would mean the Irish Sea will become a border between Welsh ports and the Republic of Ireland. This will mean big changes for Holyhead. Andrew Potter (Cardiff Business School) looks at the likely problems and how they could be minimised. As 2019 draws to a close, the logistics industry is once … Continued

A missed opportunity? Revisiting the euro referendum that never was from a historical perspective

3 Dec

In 1997 all the main parties promised a referendum on whether Britain should join the euro, but eventually Labour ruled out membership. Anti-euro campaigners went on to hone their arguments in the 2016 referendum. Stuart Smedley (King’s College London) suggests that this may have been a missed opportunity for the government to tackle Eurosceptic narratives. … Continued

Three years on: the UK is paying a high economic price for its decision to leave the EU

2 Dec

How has the Leave vote affected the UK economy, ask Swati Dhingra and Thomas Sampson (LSE) in this second of two blogs based on the CEP Election Analysis briefing on Brexit. It summarizes CEP research on how the referendum outcome has affected the UK economy since 2016. The first blog, which reviews work on the potential long-run … Continued

John Van Reenen: ‘A lot of promises are just smoke and mirrors’

29 Nov

As director of LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) up to 2016, British economist John Van Reenen led a team of academic researchers who produced detailed analysis of the consequences a divorce from the European Union would have on the UK economy. They predicted a fall in GDP, employment, direct investment, wages and productivity. Of … Continued

Economic consequences of Brexit are overwhelmingly negative

26 Nov

The economic consequences of Brexit are overwhelmingly negative, estimate Swati Dhingra and Thomas Sampson (LSE). The more the UK distances itself from the EU’s economic institutions and policies, the greater will be the increase in trade barriers and the higher will be the costs of Brexit, they claim. This is the first of two blogs based … Continued

Long read | Brexiteers might have succeeded, but Brexit will fail

15 Nov

After the conclusion of negotiations between the twenty-seven EU Member States and Boris Johnson’s government on the UK’s EU withdrawal agreement, Brexiteers seem to finally be on the verge of achieving their goal, writes Thierry Chopin (ESPOL/Bruges). But will Brexit succeed? Probably not, or else in its current form it will cause many losers, including those who voted to leave the EU […]

Money can’t buy love for Europe but success certainly can

12 Nov

What can the EU do in practice to build its own electoral support? To what extent can Euroscepticism be influenced by EU policies? Analysis of votes in the Brexit referendum suggests that money does not influence voters’ support for Europe, write Riccardo Crescenzi (LSE), Marco Di Cataldo (LSE/Ca’ Foscari University of Venice), and Mara Giua (Roma Tre University). It is the […]

Long read: Are opinion polls biased towards Leave?

29 Oct

Much of public opinion polling in the UK is nowadays conducted online. This has many advantages as it allows polls to be conducted more cheaply, but it also runs into several problems. Thiemo Fetzer (University of Warwick) illustrates some of the technical issues that arise using the example of the British Election Study, which is an important point of reference for […]

Long read: Debunking myths on links between austerity and Brexit

17 Oct

Thiemo Fetzer (University of Warwick) addresses the misunderstandings and the criticisms of his widely-read 2018 paper “Did Austerity Cause Brexit?”. In August 2018 the Guardian Politics liveblog featured the headline: “Brexit is direct result of austerity and cuts like bedroom tax, research suggests.” The blog contained a set of graphs and paragraphs from his paper, which has since been accepted for publication in the […]

Despite ‘Global Britain’, Britain will follow the European trade model for the next few years

1 Oct

The government would like to implement its vision for a ‘Global Britain’ after Brexit. But, says Stephen Woolcock (LSE), for the next few years at least companies are likely to favour the continuity of European trading practices. He looks at the factors shaping that preference. There are competing visions for British trade policy: ‘Global Britain’, which sees a sovereign Britain […]

A no-deal Brexit would be very tough for farmers – but will the public sympathise?

23 Sep

Upland farmers face losing more than a third of their income in the event of a no-deal Brexit, says Richard Byrne (Harper Adams University). In the past, some farmers have taken direct action when government and supermarket policies have threatened their income – but given the (albeit limited) financial support they can expect to receive, they may find it harder […]

The impact of Brexit on UK firms: reduced investments and decreased productivity

11 Sep

The UK’s decision to leave the EU in the June 2016 referendum was a largely unexpected event that has generated a large, broad, and long-lasting increase in uncertainty. It has also affected some firms more than others depending on the strength of their links to Continental Europe. This column exploits these features and uses a major new survey of UK […]

Does New Zealand provide Brexit lessons for Britain?

10 Sep

What lessons does New Zealand provide for Brexit Britain? Hamish McDougall (LSE) argues that while parallels between New Zealand and Britain in the event of no-deal Brexit are tenuous, New Zealand’s approach to free trade remains a relevant historical case study. Insights into a no-deal Brexit can be found, of all places, in 1970s New Zealand, according to a recent Bloomberg news article. This […]

Why no-deal Brexit is a battle for the soul of our nation

27 Aug

Britain is lurching towards an economic, political and moral disaster, writes John Van Reenen (MIT). We are careening towards the most extreme form of Brexit imaginable – flouncing out of the European Union (EU) after 46 years without any transition plan. Operation Yellowhammer, a leaked secret report from the government’s own officials predicted that the most likely outcome of this no-deal Brexit […]

The future of UK services trade is unlikely to be bright, whatever form Brexit takes

21 Aug

When it comes to trade in services, leaving the Single Market will result in increased regulatory costs and could have significant effects on the volume and composition of UK services exports, writes Olga Pindyuk. In the Brexit debate, trade in services has been largely overlooked in favour of trade in goods. This is despite the UK being the second biggest […]

Boris Johnson’s real agenda: The ‘Singapore scenario’

12 Aug

While immediate political attention has focussed on urgent questions of how, when or if Britain’s new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, will succeed in taking the UK out of the EU, the longer-term agenda of a Johnson-led Conservative administration has been pushed into the background. This is unfortunate. Johnson’s dream, should his premiership survive, is of a post-Brexit Britain akin to […]

To deal or not to deal: these are the questions

7 Aug

Why is the new government prepared to countenance no deal, when it would be so damaging to Britain? Iain Begg (LSE) says the question is not whether but how much it would harm the country. To judge by the early pronouncements of the Johnson government, a ‘no-deal’ Brexit is not only worth contemplating, but could well occur. Although both sides […]

Long read: Post-Brexit trade policy must serve British society, not just free trade

5 Aug

Brexit provides an opportunity to agree new Economic Partnership Agreements with the world’s largest economies such as the US, China, and India. These cannot make up for the trade it will lose through leaving the Single Market, according to Swati Dhingra (CEP & LSE) and Josh De Lyon (CEP). Nevertheless, the UK has an opportunity to forge a new generation […]

No-deal Cabinet: time for another Bank of England stress test

2 Aug

With the new Cabinet made up of ‘Vote Leave veterans and right-wing free marketers’, Costas Milas discusses how the Bank of England may want to respond. Evan Esar quipped in his Comic Dictionary that statistics is ‘the only science that enables different experts using the same figures to draw different conclusions’. This definitely applies to the notorious Brexit divorce bill […]

Brexit behaviourally: which do you think is the bigger figure – £350m a week or £4,300 per household per year?

29 Jul

The Leave campaign’s ‘£350m a week’ figure cut through to voters in the 2016 referendum, while the Treasury’s ‘£4,300 per household per year’ didn’t. Was the relationship between the two figures intuitively self-evident? One is six times bigger than the other. Tessa Buchanan (University College London) looks at some of the behavioural lessons that can be learned from the campaign. Psychologist Daniel […]