The Economic Impact of Brexit-induced Reductions in Migration (with Jonathan Portes, King's College London)
Two issues dominated the UK's Brexit referendum debate: immigration and the economy. The nature of discussion of these two topics was very different, and to a large extent compartmentalised. During the campaign, there was extensive discussion of the economic impact of Brexit on the UK economy. Detailed projections, under different scenarios for the post-Brexit UK-EU relationship, were produced by HM Treasury, the IMF and OECD, among others (HM Treasury, 2016; International Monetary Fund, 2016; OECD, 2016). However, most of these projections did not incorporate the economic impact of changes in migration to the UK (if they did, falls in migration were only thought of as fall in labour force); they focused on trade (and to some extent investment) impacts. As one of us pointed out at the time, there was little or no analytical justification for this omission (Portes, 2016). The purpose of this paper is to make progress towards filling that gap, using a broadly similar methodology and approach to that used in the trade-based analyses. Our results are therefore, at a high level, comparable. We analyse the impact of Brexit on migration flows to the UK in both the short and long term, and provide plausible, empirically-based estimates of the likely impacts on growth, employment and wages. The paper published on the Oxford Review of Economic Policy has been subject of articles from the Financial Times, The Independent, Business Insider UK, The Huffington Post, the Mirror, Bloomberg, The Times and The Guardian. Here is the related VOX column. The Economist also cited results regarding wages in an article in the February, 25th 2017 edition. The work was also cited by the Welsh Government in their publication Brexit and Fair Movement of People: Securing Wales' Future.