DP12301 Brexit: The Economics of International Disintegration

Author(s): Thomas Sampson
Publication Date: September 2017
Keyword(s): Brexit, European Union, Globalization, quantitative trade models, Trade agreements
JEL(s): F1, F5, F6
Programme Areas: International Trade and Regional Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=12301

This paper reviews the literature on the likely economic consequences of Brexit and considers the lessons of the Brexit vote for the future of European and global integration. Brexit will make the United Kingdom poorer because it will lead to new barriers to trade and migration between the United Kingdom and the European Union. Plausible estimates put the costs to the United Kingdom at between 1 and 10 percent of income per capita. Other European Union countries will also suffer economically, but their estimated losses are much smaller. Support for Brexit came from a coalition of less-educated, older, less economically successful and more socially conservative voters. Why these voters rejected the European Union is poorly understood, but will play an important role in determining whether Brexit proves to be merely a diversion on the path to greater international integration or a sign that globalization has reached its limits.