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Brexit and the Global Economy

The United Kingdom’s divorce negotiations with the European Union have dragged on through multiple déjà vu moments, and the consensus among experts is that the economic fallout will be felt far more acutely in Britain than in the EU. But policymakers worldwide would benefit from watching the process closely.

WASHINGTON, DC – The singular issue of Brexit has consumed the United Kingdom for two and a half years. The “if,” “how,” and “when” of the country’s withdrawal from the European Union, after decades of membership, has understandably dominated news coverage, and sidelined almost every other policy debate. Lost in the mix, for example, has been any serious discussion of how the UK should boost productivity and competitiveness at a time of global economic and financial fluidity.

At the same time, the rest of the world’s interest in Brexit has understandably waned. The UK’s negotiations with the EU have dragged on through multiple déjà vu moments, and the consensus is that the economic fallout will be felt far more acutely in Britain than in the EU, let alone in countries elsewhere.

Still, the rest of the world is facing profound challenges of its own. Political and economic systems are undergoing far-reaching structural changes, many of them driven by technology, trade, climate change, high inequality, and mounting political anger. In addressing these issues, policymakers around the world would do well to heed the lessons of the UK’s Brexit experience.

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