Economics & Social Policy

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.

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Migration, productivity, living standards, and all that

Michael Taylor — Policy Exchange’s Economics Research Fellow — considers whether it’s right to assume that migration has a positive effect on productivity and living standards. He assesses the UK’s recent experience in terms of population expansion and the growth rate of GDP per head, before concluding that what ultimately matters is living standards, and that the UK’s performance has been ‘disappointing in recent years’.

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America’s continuing economic expansion and tightening labour market

Warwick Lightfoot — Policy Exchange’s Director of Research and Head of Economics and Social Policy — reflects on the latest reports from the United States, which show that its economy continues to expand steadily while unemployment continues to fall and the number of jobs increases. He contends that on the estimates given, the American economy ‘is at full employment and policy makers should be considering removing sources of stimulus from aggregate monetary demand, rather than looking to increase demand’.

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The UK economy hits a soft patch, euro area recovers — no Brexit conclusions

Mike Taylor — Policy Exchange’s Economics Research Fellow — reflects on the IMF’s recent downgrading of its 2017 GDP forecast for the UK from 2 per cent to 1.7 per cent, which coincided with its upgrading of its euro area forecast from 1.7 per cent to 1.9 per cent. Pointing out that the areas are in different stages of their economic cycles, he concludes that ‘structurally, the UK is in better shape to deal with the bumps in the road ahead’.

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What is the American economy’s trend rate of growth, and how can it realistically be raised?

Warwick Lightfoot — Policy Exchange’s Director of Research and Head of Economics and Social Policy — reflects on ongoing debate in the States about the trend rate of growth and the relative performance of the US economy. He argues that while America retains great relative strengths, it is ‘not immune from the structural impediments that hinder other advanced economies with developed welfare states’.

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Latest Economics & Social Policy Publications

Global Britain, Global Challenges: How to make aid more effective

Global Britain, Global Challenges: How to make aid more effective

Policy Exchange today publishes ‘Global Britain, Global Challenges: How to make aid more effective’. The report makes a strong case for the importance of overseas aid and supports the Government’s commitment to spending 0.7 per cent of national income on aid. The report has a foreword by Scottish Conservative leader Rt Hon Ruth Davidson, MSP; she wrote for The Times today about why “Looking forward, a global Britain should both maintain its world-leading aid budget and be a champion for free trade”.

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

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.

Lessons from the US on Innovation Policy

Lessons from the US on Innovation Policy

A commentary by Sir Geoffrey Owen, Head of Industrial Policy at Policy Exchange and former Editor of the Financial Times. Sir Geoffrey examines the reasons for US leadership in two key sectors, information technology and biotechnology, highlighting the important role played by new entrepreneurial firms

Latest Economics & Social Policy Blogs

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

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.

Migration, productivity, living standards, and all that

Migration, productivity, living standards, and all that

Michael Taylor — Policy Exchange’s Economics Research Fellow — considers whether it’s right to assume that migration has a positive effect on productivity and living standards. He assesses the UK’s recent experience in terms of population expansion and the growth rate of GDP per head, before concluding that what ultimately matters is living standards, and that the UK’s performance has been ‘disappointing in recent years’.

America’s continuing economic expansion and tightening labour market

America’s continuing economic expansion and tightening labour market

Warwick Lightfoot — Policy Exchange’s Director of Research and Head of Economics and Social Policy — reflects on the latest reports from the United States, which show that its economy continues to expand steadily while unemployment continues to fall and the number of jobs increases. He contends that on the estimates given, the American economy ‘is at full employment and policy makers should be considering removing sources of stimulus from aggregate monetary demand, rather than looking to increase demand’.

Latest Economics & Social Policy News

Policy Exchange’s Warwick Lightfoot writes about Brexit’s effect on food prices, in the Daily Telegraph

Policy Exchange’s Warwick Lightfoot writes about Brexit’s effect on food prices, in the Daily Telegraph

Warwick Lightfoot — Director of Research and Head of Economics and Social Policy — reflects on a recent House of Lords’ report on the potential impact of Brexit on agriculture. He comments that ‘nowhere did [the report] recognise that protectionism drives food prices in the EU above world prices’, before concluding that ‘after Brexit, consumer welfare will be increased by access to the world’s most competitive suppliers and I believe we will see lower food prices’

Policy Exchange’s Warwick Lightfoot referenced in Sunday Times article on Scottish independence

Policy Exchange’s Warwick Lightfoot referenced in Sunday Times article on Scottish independence

This Sunday Times article by Mark Macaskill discusses the views of Warwick Lightfoot, Policy Exchange’s Head of Economics and Social Policy, and Research Director. Referring to a recent blog piece Lightfoot wrote on Scottish independence, Macaskill reports that ‘a proposal by the SNP for tackling Scotland’s multibillion-pound budget deficit in the event of independence has been described as “implausible” by a leading economist.’

Latest Economics & Social Policy Events

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