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The impact of Brexit on UK firms

Author

Listed:
  • Bloom, Nicholas

    (Stanford University)

  • Bunn, Philip

    (Bank of England)

  • Chen, Scarlet

    (Stanford University)

  • Mizen, Paul

    (University of Nottingham)

  • Smietanka, Pawel

    (Bank of England)

  • Thwaites, Gregory

    (LSE Centre for Macroeconomics)

Abstract

We use a major new survey of UK firms, the Decision Maker Panel, to assess the impact of the June 2016 Brexit referendum. We identify three key results. First, the UK’s decision to leave the EU has generated a large, broad and long-lasting increase in uncertainty. Second, anticipation of Brexit is estimated to have gradually reduced investment by about 11% over the three years following the June 2016 vote. This fall in investment took longer to occur than predicted at the time of the referendum, suggesting that the size and persistence of this uncertainty may have delayed firms’ response to the Brexit vote. Finally, the Brexit process is estimated to have reduced UK productivity by between 2% and 5% over the three years after the referendum. Much of this drop is from negative within-firm effects, in part because firms are committing several hours per week of top-management time to Brexit planning. We also find evidence for smaller negative between-firm effects as more productive, internationally exposed, first have been more negatively impacted than less productive domestic firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Bloom, Nicholas & Bunn, Philip & Chen, Scarlet & Mizen, Paul & Smietanka, Pawel & Thwaites, Gregory, 2019. "The impact of Brexit on UK firms," Bank of England working papers 818, Bank of England.
  • Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:0818
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    2. Breinlich, Holger & Leromain, Elsa & Novy, Dennis & Sampson, Thomas, 2020. "Voting with their money: Brexit and outward investment by UK firms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 124(C).
    3. José-Luis Peydró & Francesc R. Tous & Jagdish Tripathy & Arzu Uluc, 2020. "Macroprudential policy, mortgage cycles and distributional effects: Evidence from the UK," Economics Working Papers 1725, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    4. Holger Breinlich & Elsa Leromain & Dennis Novy & Thomas Sampson, 2019. "Exchange Rates and Consumer Prices: Evidence from Brexit," CESifo Working Paper Series 8001, CESifo.
    5. Patrizia Casadei & Simona Iammarino, 2021. "Trade policy shocks in the UK textile and apparel value chain: Firm perceptions of Brexit uncertainty," Journal of International Business Policy, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 4(2), pages 262-285, June.
    6. Asano, Takao & Osaki, Yusuke, 2021. "Optimal investment under ambiguous technology shocks," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 293(1), pages 304-311.
    7. Evers, Andrea & Matthaei, Eva Kristina, 2021. "Steuerplanung unter Unsicherheit: Eine Befragungsstudie zum Brexit," Discussion Papers 2021/10, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    8. Matej Opatrny, 2021. "The impact of the Brexit vote on UK financial markets: a synthetic control method approach," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 559-587, May.
    9. Bachmann, Rüdiger, 2019. "Comments on “Monetary policy announcements and expectations: Evidence from German firms”," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 64-68.
    10. Steven J. Davis, 2019. "Rising Policy Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 26243, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. 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.
    12. Wittwer, Glyn & Anderson, Kym, 2020. "A Model of Global Beverage Markets," Journal of Wine Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 330-354, August.
    13. Ana Venâncio & João Pereira dos Santos, 2022. "The Effect of Brexit on British Workers Living in the EU," CESifo Working Paper Series 9659, CESifo.
    14. Panagiota Makrychoriti & Fotios Pasiouras & Menelaos Tasiou, 2022. "Financial stress and economic growth: The moderating role of trust," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 75(1), pages 48-74, February.
    15. Berg, Tobias & Saunders, Anthony & Schäfer, Larissa & Steffen, Sascha, 2021. "Brexit and the contraction of syndicated lending," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 141(1), pages 66-82.
    16. Shams, Syed & Gunaskerage, Abeyratna & Velayutham, Eswaran, 2022. "Economic policy uncertainty and acquisition performance: Australian evidence," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 286-308.
    17. Brautzsch, Hans-Ulrich & Dany-Knedlik, Geraldine & Drygalla, Andrej & Gebauer, Stefan & Holtemöller, Oliver & Kämpfe, Martina & Lindner, Axel & Michelsen, Claus & Rieth, Malte & Schlaak, Thore, 2019. "Kurzfristige ökonomische Effekte eines "Brexit" auf die deutsche Wirtschaft: Studie im Auftrag des Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft und Energie," IWH Online 3/2019, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Brexit; economic uncertainty; policy uncertainty;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • E66 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General Outlook and Conditions
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm

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