Skip to main content
gros89_Thomas Lohnes_Getty Images_brexit economy Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

The Not-So-High Costs of Brexit

Beyond a weaker pound and lower UK interest rates, the British vote to exit the EU has not had a lasting economic impact. In fact, thanks to the economic transformation that the UK has undergone over the last 20 years – in part, driven by the country's EU membership – the economy may well be able to dodge the Brexit bullet.

BRUSSELS – The United Kingdom’s vote to “Brexit” the European Union is on course to become the year’s biggest non-event. Beyond a weaker pound and lower UK interest rates, the referendum has not had much of a lasting impact. Financial markets wobbled for a few weeks after the referendum, but have since recovered. Consumer spending remains unmoved. More surprising, investment has remained consistent, despite uncertainty about Britain’s future trade relations with the EU. Have the costs of Brexit been overblown?

Not exactly. In fact, the UK may well end up losing the predicted 2-3% of GDP from Brexit. But it is the exit from the single market, not the initial vote to leave, that will bring those losses, and that may happen over a long period. If the exit turns out to be a ten-year process, the losses would be borne gradually over that period, costing the UK about 0.2-0.3% of GDP per year, on average.

This could be very good news for the UK. With a weaker currency, the country will benefit from an increase in export competitiveness that could offset those incremental losses and the transient investment weakness that is likely to arise.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/7I0Ml4G;
  1. op_anheier8_MichaelOrsoGettyImages_Atlasstatueinnewyork Michael Orso/Getty Images

    Philanthropy vs. Democracy

    Helmut K. Anheier

    For philanthropic institutions, the fundamental question of accountability first raised by the emergence of liberal democracy will not go away. To what extent should modern societies permit independent private agendas in the public realm and allow their advocates to pursue objectives that are not shared by governments and popular majorities?

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.