Dr Graham Gudgin

Dr Graham Gudgin
Dr Graham Gudgin is Policy Exchange’s Chief Economic Adviser. He is currently Honorary Research Associate at the Centre for Business Research (CBR) in the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge. He is also visiting Professor at the University of Ulster and Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre, and was senior Economic Adviser at Oxford Economics from 2007 to 2015. He was Director of the ESRC-funded Northern Ireland Economic Research Centre from 1985 to 1998 when he became Special Adviser to the First Minister in the NI Assembly until 2002. Prior to this he was economics fellow at Selwyn College, Cambridge and a member of the Cambridge Economic Policy Group under Wynne Godley. He is the author of a large number of books, reports and journal articles on regional economic growth in the UK, the growth of small firms and electoral systems. He is currently working with Ken Coutts on a macro-economic model and forecasts for the UK economy and on the economic impact of Brexit.

Related News

Graham Gudgin discusses Irish border on Today programme

Policy Exchange’s Chief Economic Adviser Dr Graham Gudgin appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme to discuss Brexit and the Northern Irish border, saying that "the Irish border is a manageable issue without any constitutional changes in Northern Ireland" and that “people who suggest hard infrastructure is needed are being rather mischievous”. You can listen again here and read Dr Gudgin’s latest blog on the topic here.

Graham Gudgin gives evidence to committee on Irish border

Policy Exchange’s Chief Economic Adviser Dr Graham Gudgin gave evidence to the House of Lords EU Select Committee on UK-Irish relations after Brexit. Dr Gudgin argued that electronic solutions should be prioritised for the border and argued that securing a free trade agreement with the EU must be a priority.

Graham Gudgin writes for the Guardian on the Irish border

Policy Exchange Chief Economic Adviser Dr Graham Gudgin has written for the Guardian about the Irish border and whether a deal can get back on track.

Dr Graham Gudgin discusses post-Brexit economic forecasts on Today

Dr Graham Gudgin, Policy Exchange’s Chief Economic Adviser, made an appearance on Today to discuss prospects for the UK economy after Brexit, arguing that forecasts are much too gloomy.

Related Publications

The Island of Ireland

Download Publication Online Reader Despite the Northern Ireland Protocol promoting the concept of an ‘all-island’ Irish economy, this concept is a ‘fiction’, an ‘illusion promoted for political ends,’ argues a new report from Policy Exchange. ‘The Island of Ireland: Two Distinct Economies’, authored by Dr. Graham Gudgin, Policy Exchange’s Chief Economic Advisor, concludes the ‘all-Island economy’ of Ireland is actually two economies with little integration, despite the decades of relative […]

Fiscal principles for the future

Download Publication Online Reader This paper calls for a pro-growth economic strategy as the best way to address Britain’s fiscal position. Fiscal principles for the future is co-authored by Gerard Lyons, Graham Gudgin, Warwick Lightfoot and Jan Zeber. Dr Gerard Lyons, Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange, said: “It is right to use fiscal policy as a shock absorber, to avoid premature tightening and to direct spending towards capital investment and […]

Why the Government should spend more on capital

This paper argues that the Government should spend more on capital investment. The case was already strong before the Covid-19 crisis and has been strengthened since, as its financing has become more affordable. The paper highlights the importance of taking advantage of the present macro-economic environment afforded by low borrowing costs to provide stable – and sizeable – funding for new infrastructure through an increase in capital spending by the public sector. Additional capital spending, in excess of the fiscal rules, would be sustainable and affordable

Covid-19 across Ireland

Dr Gudgin's Policy Exchange research note shows that with the available data it is not yet possible to reach a definitive conclusion on which jurisdiction – Northern Ireland or the Republic – has the higher death rate during the coronavirus crisis, but that the most reasonable judgement is that death rates in Northern Ireland and the Republic are approximately the same.

Speed, Scale and Simplicity

The government has outlined an audacious package of measures aimed at dealing with the economic consequences of COVID-19, but in a fast- moving environment, it should be no surprise that policy has to continue to evolve. There have already been four fiscal packages in recent weeks, beginning with the Budget, then one focused on the corporate sector, the next on employees and last week’s targeting the self-employed. This has been supported by monetary policy. Despite this, further action is needed supported by another fiscal boost and further monetary action. It is not only the scale of the stimulus that needs to increase, but the execution of the policies. Also, the policy reaction on job protection has been impressively large, but the lack of any precedent means we cannot be certain how the measures will work.

Limiting the Economic Impact of the Covid-19 Virus

On Thursday, the Chancellor unveiled his fourth round of policy measures to boost the economy during the Coronavirus crisis. He announced what he called a coherent, coordinated and comprehensive scheme for the self-employed. This positive approach from the Chancellor, and the speed of the Government’s response, is worthy of congratulations. Yet inevitably, in this fast-moving crisis, there remain some areas to iron out, largely linked to the policies’ likely execution and administration. The biggest challenge is the delay, as the measures unveiled will take a couple of months to implement, and the strain that this may place on those self-employed who do not have access to income during this time.


McDonnellomics: How Labour’s economic agenda would transform the UK is the most thorough examination so far of the Shadow Chancellor’s policy approach and inspiration, rooted in a 1970s Bennite socialist political tradition. Based on a wide-ranging analysis of Labour’s published plans, academic papers and interviews, it finds that McDonnellomics would represent the biggest shift in UK economic policy since the advent of Thatcherism. Even after a short period under a Labour government with John McDonnell as Chancellor, the paper concludes, the British economy would be less resistant to shocks, with a more concentrated and volatile tax base, less flexible labour market and lower investor confidence.

The Irish Border and the Principle of Consent

It is the EU’s Brexit position which most threatens the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Brexit and the British Growth Model

In this new Policy Exchange paper Brexit and the British Growth Model, Dr Christopher Bickerton of Cambridge University argues that post-Brexit we need a new approach to and understanding of economic growth which moves away from a reliance on consumption. He advocates a new social settlement to mediate the relations between individuals, the state and markets.

Getting Over the Line: Solutions to the Irish border

The Irish border is not the insoluble obstacle to Brexit negotiations that it has been made out to be and the UK can leave the single market and customs union while preserving a frictionless border in Ireland. This can be achieved by the use of new technology and in the context of a Free Trade Agreement between the UK and EU, in an arrangement that goes beyond the Customs Partnership and in no way threatens the Good Friday Agreement.

Defying Gravity: A critique of estimates of the economic impact of Brexit

The models used to assess the economic impact of Brexit were misleading, according to new analysis by Dr Graham Gudgin, Policy Exchange’s new Chief Economics Adviser and the co-author of the report. At the time, the projections made by the Treasury, OECD and IMF were used by the then government and Remain campaign to argue that the British economy would face a significant and permanent loss of income in the event of a vote to leave. A careful analysis of the gravity trade economic models used to generate these pessimistic projections suggests that the impact of Brexit on our economy will be much less significant than the economic consensus constructed at the time of the referendum.

Related Blogs

More Catholics than Protestants in Northern Ireland, yet still a firm majority for the Union.

The end of the 30-year IRA campaign of bombing and killing in 1998 signaled the demise of a republican strategy which had lasted on and off for a century or more. It did not, though, mark any diminution of the aspiration for Irish unity among Irish nationalists north or south. In their first annual conference following the Good Friday Agreement, even the moderate nationalist SDLP was at pains to emphasise […]

Why the Centre for European Reform is wrong about Brexit

The Centre for European Reform published a report ‘What can we know about the cost of Brexit so far?’ on 9 June 2022. It estimated the impact of Brexit on the UK economy as a 5.2% reduction in GDP, a 13.7% fall in investment, and 13.6% fall in trade, compared to a “modelled ‘doppelgänger’ group of countries. This was given major and uncritical coverage in an ITN television news bulletin and in the Economist magazine. Analysis by Policy Exchange […]

A Border Once Again

Just as the main talks on a permanent Brexit agreement are currently bogged down, the EU had begun to panic that the already agreed Irish Protocol was also stuck in the doldrums. The UK government had thus been under heavy pressure to begin tangible preparations to enact the measures agreed in last December’s revised Protocol. Brussels was demanding border infrastructure, computer systems for customs declarations and an office in Belfast to house EU officials who would oversee the customs measures.

Why be afraid of No Deal?

The risks can be managed and we still have some good bargaining chips, write Alexander Downer and Graham Gudgin.

What you didn’t know about the Irish Border – how technology can resolve the issue of the North/South frontier post-Brexit

David Trimble's former Special Adviser – and Chief Economic Adviser to Policy Exchange - sets out how technology can ensure a low-profile border between North and South.

What Does Chequers Mean for Northern Ireland?

In the first of a series by Policy Exchange experts reflecting on the Chequers Agreement and Brexit White Paper, our Chief Economic Adviser Dr Graham Gudgin reflects on their implications for the Irish border. Dr Gudgin, a former Special Adviser to the Northern Irish First Minister and leading expert on issues around the border, concludes that if the White Paper's recommendations are implemented, the Northern Irish border 'problem' is largely solved.

Dr Graham Gudgin examines the likely options for a future trade relationship between the UK and EU

Policy Exchange's Chief Economic Adviser, Dr Graham Gudgin, outlines the likely proposals to be put before Friday's Cabinet and explores how they might work.

Don’t listen to the doom-mongers – why the UK (including Northern Ireland) can leave the Customs Union, avoid a hard border and preserve the Good Friday Agreement

Graham Gudgin, Chief Economic Adviser to Policy Exchange and a former special adviser to the Northern Ireland First Minister, and Ray Bassett, Senior Fellow for EU Affairs and a former Irish Ambassador to Canada, demonstrate that the UK can leave the Customs Union, avoid a ‘hard’ Irish Border and preserve the Good Friday Agreement.

The EU’s own report confirms that the Irish Border issue can be resolved with technology – does this expose other motivations in Dublin and Brussels?

Dr Graham Gudgin – himself a former special adviser to the First Minister of Northern Ireland – finds that the EU’s own research group has identified technological solutions to avoid a ‘hard border’, raising questions about Dublin and Brussels’ intransigence on this issue.

The national interest is best served by an open debate on the impact of Brexit – not spurious comparisons

Dr Graham Gudgin – Policy Exchange’s Chief Economic Adviser – questions the use of emotive language by former civil servants when attacking those who question Treasury forecasting. Graham argues there is a place for legitimate scrutiny of forecasts which have proven inaccurate in the past.

Perspectives on the Irish Border and Brexit negotiations

Two of Policy Exchange’s leading experts on Irish Affairs, former Irish diplomat Ray Bassett and former Special Adviser to the First Minister of Northern Ireland Dr Graham Gudgin, evaluate the Stage 1 Brexit Agreement published last week. Although welcome progress has been made, key issues remain outstanding and have the capacity to present difficultly if not resolved.

Irish hard line presents opportunities for UK

The Irish border issue is now taking a central place in the Brexit negotiations. Conventional wisdom in both Dublin and Brussels is failing to recognise that the border issue can be solved. Policy Exchange’s Chief Economic Adviser Dr Graham Gudgin, one of the leading authorities on cross border economics, explains that technological developments mean frontiers are already more than fixed lines on a map – and that elements in the Irish Government and the Commission are being far too slow to acknowledge this, preferring instead to engage in “Brit-bashing”.

Policy Exchange Budget Response, Part 1 – The Forecasts

In Part One of Policy Exchange’s analysis of the Budget, Chief Economic Adviser Dr Graham Gudgin looks at the forecasts produced by the Office for Budget Responsibility. These official forecasts are the basis for spending decisions today and planning for the future – which means they must be robust. As we saw with the overly pessimistic Treasury forecasts regarding Brexit, they are not always right.

A sensible deal on the Northern Ireland border is very achievable - Brussels and Dublin should stop playing games.

Policy Exchange's Chief Economic Adviser, Dr Graham Gudgin, sets out how a workable deal on the Northern Ireland border could be delivered - without the return of a 'hard border'. He says that the Irish Government and European Commission are using the issue for short-term political gain. ​

The Irish Border and Brexit: is Varadkar playing with fire?

Policy Exchange Chief Economist - and former Special Adviser to the Northern Ireland First Minister - Graham Gudgin responds to Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's proposals for the Irish Border to be moved to the Irish Sea after Brexit. Gudgin states that this new tough line from Dublin on the Irish Border is an unhelpful change of direction on an already complex issue -- and that Varadkar's decision to cease work on a potential electronic Border is particularly unwelcome. Moreover, his call in Belfast for the UK to negotiate a bespoke customs unions deal with the EU would require a special dispensation from the EU to allow the UK to agree new trade deals with third countries. This would be a major departure from EU practice -- and is unlikely to be agreed.

The mechanics of the DUP deal

Dr Graham Gudgin – Policy Exchange’s Chief Economic Adviser, former Director of the Northern Ireland Economic Research Centre, and Special Advisor to the Northern Ireland First Minister from 1998-2002 – examines the deal signed this week between the Conservative Government and the DUP, and argues that Scottish nationalist criticism of extra spending in Northern Ireland is hypocritical and misplaced.

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