1. Modelling the economic impacts of "Brexit". 2. Free movement: economic and social impacts, past and future

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Political Economy

Abstract

The research will focus on two key areas:

- Free movement of people within the European Union; currently the single most controversial aspect of the UK's membership . This will cover the economic, social and political impact of intra-EU migration on the UK; potential future impacts, if the UK remains within the EU, and if it does not, including new modelling of the long-term economic and fiscal impacts: migration policy options for the UK if it leaves the UK as EU; comparative analysis of the impact of free movement on other EU countries.

- Addressing the key question of the economic impact of a possible UK exit, through the specification, elaboration and quantification of possible future economic scenarios for the UK, inside or outside the EU. This will make use where possible of NIESR's global macroeconometric model, NiGEM, and cover as far as possible the different economic aspects of EU membership (trade, regulation, capital mobility, free movement, budgetary spending, etc). In addition we will identify evidence gaps where further research could advance our understanding of these impacts

I, and NIESR, are particularly well placed to undertake this work.

- I have been active in immigration research for 15 years, and was responsible for the first major UK government study of the impacts of immigration (Portes, 2001), as well as the first analysis of the labour market impacts of EU migration (Portes and French, 2006); as a senior civil servant, I was closely involved in policy decisions relating to free movement in government; and I am now the most prominent academic commenting publicly on immigration issues, appearing frequently in both broadcast and print media.

- NIESR is the only UK academic institution which possesses a fully specified structural econometric model of the global economy, incorporating country models of the UK and all significant EU economies; NiGEM has previously been used to estimate the transition costs and economic dynamics of UK exit (Pan and Young, 2004); it is used by the Bank of England, ECB, IMF, OECD and several other European central banks for simulation purposes. NiGEM is particularly well suited for the type of simulation analysis required for credible modelling of the potential impacts of EU exit across a number of dimensions.

- NIESR has an excellent network of contacts among policymakers (HMT, OBR, BIS, BoE) and the business community (CBI, FSB, etc) who will both help inform the research and will be key audiences for the output. We also have links with comparable research institutions elsewhere in the EU and with policymakers in Brussels.

- NIESR's record on the Future of Scotland fellowship shows our capacity to produce timely, objective, academically high quality research and to disseminate it widely to policymakers, media and the general public. Monique Ebell, Angus Armstrong's co-author for much of the Scotland work, will also work on this project.

The outputs will be a combination of synthesis of existing work across a number of disciplines and new research, quantitative and qualitative. Building on NIESR's existing networks and strong track record, as well as my own personal media profile, we envisage a very active programme of dissemination through both traditional and innovative channels. NIESR is extremely well placed to undertake an active programme of dissemination of the outputs not just of this research but of the wider work of the ESRC programme. Given both our geographic location and our close contact with economic policymakers (we have excellent links with the Treasury, BIS, Bank of England, DWP, and OBR) we could serve as a hub for engaging policymakers with the programme.

If funded, we would also look to undertake further work in cooperation with research partners elsewhere in the EU, and possibly in the US.

Planned Impact

Who will benefit and how?

Policymakers and public policy commentators (in particular informed journalists) will benefit from:

- access to objective, informed summaries of the research evidence on the impact of free movement;
- new research on labour market impacts;
- an objective assessment of the implications of possible alternative future scenarios for immigration policy.
- identification of the possible channels by which EU exit might impact the UK scenario
- the development of different possible scenarios for the UK economy post-exit and the quantification, under different scenarios, of possible economic impacts

This will facilitate a better informed public debate on the economic and social impacts of UK membership of the EU, in particular in relation to free movement; and the potential economic impacts of a UK exit.

University and school teachers and students (economics, political science, international relation, etc) will benefit from the creation of accessible, objective resources on these topics that can be used as teaching materials/aids.

Employers and businesses (private and public sector) will benefit from high quality, objective analysis about the likely impacts of EU exit under different scenarios; and from analysis of the impact of free movement and/or changes in immigration policy on labour market structures and outcomes.

Policymakers and researchers elsewhere in the EU will benefit from analysis of the UK policy debate.

What will we do?

NIESR is extremely well placed to undertake an active programme of dissemination of the outputs not just of this research but of the wider work of the ESRC programme. Given both our geographic location and our close contact with economic policymakers (we have excellent links with the Treasury, BIS, Bank of England, DWP, and OBR) we could serve as a hub for engaging policymakers with the programme.

Specifically, for this research, we would envisage the following activities:

- at least 3 significant NIESR publications as detailed above, covering the labour market impacts of intra-EU migration, the longer term economic and social impacts, and the potential economic impacts of EU exit. Each would be press released and accompanied by either a NIESR blogpost or (more likely) a press article authored by me summarising the findings. Further media interest is likely;

- a series of 6-8 shorter papers/blogposts, focusing on the key individual economic issues relating to EU exit. These might form the basis of a series of lunchtime seminars for researchers and policymakers.

- a specific programme of dissemination for undergraduates and A-level students. We will ensure that some of our materials were useful as teaching aids, and work with existing networks (eg Tutor4U) to disseminate them in schools and universities.

- innovative approaches to engaging the wider public. For example, as part of our role in the Future of Scotland programme, we produced a video setting out in an amusing and accessible format, but objectively and accurately, the issues surrounding Scotland's currency options. This was highly successful and engaged a far wider audience than normal for high quality academic research. We would plan to produce 1 or 2 further videos summarising the results of our research here.

- seminars and other activities in Brussels and elsewhere in the EU. These topics will become of increasing interest to policymakers and analysts in Brussels and the wider EU. We would, working with partners, look to disseminate it widely.

In addition, my existing status as a prominent media commentator on both immigration/free movement and wider economic issues, including the economic implications of the UK's status in the EU, will be further enhanced by the Fellowship: I will have numerous opportunities to impact directly on the public debate via the broadcast and print media, primarily in the UK but also in other EU countries and possibly th

Publications

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Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
ES/N003667/1 01/05/2015 31/12/2016 £431,075
ES/N003667/2 Transfer ES/N003667/1 01/01/2017 30/06/2017 £77,682
 
Description 1. The economic impact of Brexit-induced reductions in migration is likely to be large, reducing both GDP and GDP per capita: this will have wider implications for economic and fiscal policy and public services 2. The impact of the end of free movement on Wales is likely to vary across sectors; my research suggests a number of issues on which the Welsh government should focus. 3. Issues relating to the rights of EU citizens currently resident in the UK are legally complex as well as politically fraught: I have contributed to explaining the issues and options to policy makers and the wider public.
Exploitation Route The findings are being taken forward and being put to use by, inter alia, the Welsh government; the European Parliament; policymakers in the UK government: Members of Parliament; and the broadcast and print media.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Education,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://ukandeu.ac.uk/author/jonathan-portes/
 
Description Research on the economic impacts of migration reductions has been frequently quoted in the broadcast media and in Parliament . Research on the EU migrant population in Wales and the impact of possible changes to free movement was published as part of the Welsh government policy document "Brexit and Fair Movement of People." Policy paper on options for changes to free movement after Brexit was presented at an informal seminar of MPs in Parliament. Numerous informal contacts with MPs, civil servants and other policymakers. Various blogs and papers on the UK and EU website, and published in the national press, have had a significant impact on the public debate and in finforming the general public: for example, my blog on immigration policy after Brexit has been viewed more than 12,000 times, a very high number for a technical blog on an academic website. The research has contributed in a number of ways to policy development on immigration policy after Brexit, as referenced in the Migration Advisory Committee report on points-based systems and reflected in the recent government announcement on post-Brexit immigration policy.
Sector Creative Economy,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic

 
Description Immigration policy after the EU Referendum: economic impacts 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Media briefing presenting findings from research related to EU referendum, which was extensively quoted in the news
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description May needs to keep us away from the cliff edge 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Sunday Times' David Smith discusses and quotes our findings on Brexit and trade
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/may-needs-to-keep-us-away-from-the-cliff-edge-r93nqtszm
 
Description Published articles and blogs 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Multiple press articles and blogs, including Times, Telegraph, New Statesman, Guardian, etc. All are reproduced or linked to from my UK in a Changing Europe webpage http://ukandeu.ac.uk/author/jonathan-portes/
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
URL http://ukandeu.ac.uk/author/jonathan-portes/