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Brexit or Fixit? The Trade and Welfare Effects of Leaving the European Union


  • G.I.P. Ottaviano
  • Joao Paulo Pessoa
  • Thomas Sampson
  • John Van Reenen


Since a speech by the Prime Minister in January 2013 , the Conservative party has been committed to holding a referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union (EU) in 2017. So this is a good moment to consider what would be the likely economic effects on the UK from such a move (commonly called 'Brexit').Eurosceptics emphasise greater national sovereignty from Brexit while Europhiles tend to focus on the importance of ever greater unity to reduce the risks of the political conflicts that ravaged Europe in the first half of the twentieth century. These are important matters, but this analysis focuses on the more mundane (but quantifiable) economic issues, especially trade. The costs and benefits of the UK leaving the EU are complex. Losses due to trade alone could be very substantial. Even under very optimistic assumptions, the sum of the static and dynamic trade losses would be almost 2.2% of GDP. More pessimistic calculations would lead to a long-term loss of almost a tenth of national income. The dream of splendid isolation may turn out to be a very costly one indeed.

Suggested Citation

  • G.I.P. Ottaviano & Joao Paulo Pessoa & Thomas Sampson & John Van Reenen, 2014. "Brexit or Fixit? The Trade and Welfare Effects of Leaving the European Union," Policy Analysis Papers 016, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:ceppap:016

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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Brexit: how big an issue?
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2016-02-22 18:27:38
    2. (Mildly) against Brexit
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2016-02-28 18:13:09


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    Cited by:

    1. Marcel P. Timmer & Erik Dietzenbacher & Bart Los & Robert Stehrer & Gaaitzen J. Vries, 2015. "An Illustrated User Guide to the World Input–Output Database: the Case of Global Automotive Production," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(3), pages 575-605, August.
    2. María C. Latorre & Zoryana Olekseyuk & Hidemichi Yonezawa, 2020. "Foreign multinationals in service sectors: A general equilibrium analysis of Brexit," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(11), pages 2830-2859, November.
    3. Török, Ádám, 2017. "A brexit közbenső állapota [The interim phase of Brexit]," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(1), pages 1-16.
    4. Nauro F Campos & Fabrizio Coricelli, 2017. "EU Membership, Mrs Thatcher’s Reforms and Britain’s Economic Decline," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 59(2), pages 169-193, June.
    5. Augustine O. Ifelebuegu & Kenneth E. Aidelojie & Elijah Acquah-Andoh, 2017. "Brexit and Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union: Implications for UK Energy Policy and Security," Energies, MDPI, vol. 10(12), pages 1-15, December.
    6. Garcia-Lazaro, Aida & Mistak, Jakub & Gulcin Ozkan, F., 2021. "Supply chain networks, trade and the Brexit deal: a general equilibrium analysis," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 133(C).
    7. Xing, Lizhi & Dong, Xianlei & Guan, Jun, 2017. "Global industrial impact coefficient based on random walk process and inter-country input–output table," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 471(C), pages 576-591.
    8. Gern, Klaus-Jürgen & Hauber, Philipp & Jannsen, Nils & Kooths, Stefan & Plödt, Martin & Wolters, Maik H., 2016. "Weltkonjunktur im Frühjahr 2016 - Getrübte Aussichten für die Weltkonjunktur [World Economy Spring 2016 - Clouded outlook for the world economy]," Kieler Konjunkturberichte 15, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
    9. Lizhi Xing & Qing Ye & Jun Guan, 2016. "Spreading Effect in Industrial Complex Network Based on Revised Structural Holes Theory," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 11(5), pages 1-18, May.
    10. Ohr Renate, 2015. "Europäische Integration am Wendepunkt? Zum möglichen Austritt Großbritanniens aus der EU / European integration at a turning point? Consequences of a British exit for the EU," ORDO. Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, De Gruyter, vol. 66(1), pages 99-114, January.
    11. Chee-Heong Quah, 2017. "Exchange Rate Fixation between US, China, Japan and Eurozone," Margin: The Journal of Applied Economic Research, National Council of Applied Economic Research, vol. 11(2), pages 99-120, May.
    12. Jackson, Karen & Shepotylo, Oleksandr, 2018. "Post-Brexit trade survival: Looking beyond the European Union," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 317-328.
    13. Gabriela Ortiz Valverde & Maria C. Latorre, 2020. "A computable general equilibrium analysis of Brexit: Barriers to trade and immigration restrictions," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(3), pages 705-728, March.
    14. Ademmer, Esther, 2016. "Zu den möglichen Auswirkungen eines "Brexit"," Kiel Insight 2016.3, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).

    More about this item


    Trade; European Union; welfare;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F17 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Forecasting and Simulation
    • F60 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - General


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