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The economic impact of Brexit-induced reductions in migration


  • Jonathan Portes
  • Giuseppe Forte


We analyse the determinants of migration flows to the UK, and the impact of restrictions on free movement post-Brexit, in both the short and long term. We then provide plausible, empirically based estimates of the likely impacts on growth and wages using relationships from the existing empirical literature. We find that Brexit-induced reductions in migration are likely to have a significant negative impact on UK GDP per capita (and GDP), with marginal positive impacts on wages in the low-skill service sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Portes & Giuseppe Forte, 2017. "The economic impact of Brexit-induced reductions in migration," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(suppl_1), pages 31-44.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:33:y:2017:i:suppl_1:p:s31-s44.

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    Cited by:

    1. Richard Harris & John Moffat, 2020. "The impact of product subsidies on plant‐level total factor productivity in Britain, 1997–2014," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 67(4), pages 387-403, September.
    2. Campo, Francesco & Forte, Giuseppe & Portes, Jonathan, 2018. "The Impact of Migration on Productivity and Native-Born Workers' Training," IZA Discussion Papers 11833, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Octavio Escobar, Ulises Neri, Stephan Silvestre, 2020. "Energy policy of fossil fuel–producing countries: does global energy transition matter?," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 17(1), pages 5-30, June.
    4. Patrick Bisciari, 2019. "A survey of the long-term impact of Brexit on the UK and the EU27 economies," Working Paper Research 366, National Bank of Belgium.
    5. Calò, Silvia & Herzberg, Valerie, 2019. "The Future of Global Financial Centres after Brexit: an EU Perspective," Financial Stability Notes 9/FS/19, Central Bank of Ireland.
    6. Thomas Sampson, 2017. "Brexit: The Economics of International Disintegration," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 163-184, Fall.
    7. Thomas Sampson, 2017. "Brexit: The Economics of International Disintegration," CEP Discussion Papers dp1499, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    8. Forte, Giuseppe & Portes, Jonathan, 2017. "Macroeconomic Determinants of International Migration to the UK," GLO Discussion Paper Series 69, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    9. Auer, Daniel & Tetlow, Daniel, 2020. "Brexit, collective uncertainty and migration decisions," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Migration, Integration, Transnationalization SP VI 2020-102, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    10. Petros E. Ioannatos, 2021. "Brexit or Euro for the UK? Evidence from Panel Data," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 63(1), pages 117-138, March.
    11. Sindri Engilbertsson & Gylfi Zoega, 2019. "The Effect of Brexit on the UK Economy (so far)," BCAM Working Papers 1907, Birkbeck Centre for Applied Macroeconomics.
    12. Arthur Korus & Kaan Celebi, 2019. "The impact of Brexit news on British pound exchange rates," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 161-192, March.
    13. Morgenroth, Edgar, 2019. "Brexit Impacts: Opportunities for German-Irish Trade," MPRA Paper 96602, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. repec:cep:spccrr:spdorp03 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Cardoso, Miguel, 2020. "The welfare impact of migration with endogenous cross-border movement: An application to the European Union," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 205-216.
    16. Thomas Sampson, 2017. "Brexit: The Economics of International Disintegration," CESifo Working Paper Series 6668, CESifo.
    17. Bonin, Holger & Krause-Pilatus, Annabelle & Rinne, Ulf & Brücker, Herbert, 2020. "Wirtschaftliche Effekte der EU-Arbeitskräftemobilität in den Ziel- und Herkunftsländern," IZA Research Reports 102, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    18. Morelli, Massimo & Sasso, Greg, 2020. "Bureaucrats under Populism," CEPR Discussion Papers 14499, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. Gabriel Liviu Ispas, 2020. "The Brexit consequences on the European single market," Juridical Tribune (Tribuna Juridica), Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, Law Department, vol. 10(1), pages 116-129, March.
    20. Yaghoob Jafari & Wolfgang Britz, 2020. "Brexit: an economy-wide impact assessment on trade, immigration, and foreign direct investment," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 17-52, February.
    21. Halmai, Péter, 2020. "A dezintegráció gazdaságtana. A brexit esete [The economics of disintegration. The case of Brexit]," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(9), pages 837-877.
    22. Sampson, Thomas, 2017. "Brexit: the economics of international disintegration," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86591, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

    More about this item


    Brexit; EU; GDP; immigration; wages;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy


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