Brexit: Writings by WBG members

Date Posted: Monday 1st August 2016

A collection of articles on Brexit by WBG members (2016)


Looking for solid analysis of economic and social issues related to Brexit? See below for published writings by WBG members on the subject of Brexit:

  • ‘Rising inequality in the UK and the political economy of Brexit: lessons for policy’ by Özlem Onaran and Alexander Guschanski (2016) 
    Throughout the campaign, the leave side diverted their discontent to a scapegoat of immigration and fuelled xenophobia. While there is consensus that the result is linked to inequality, the impact of migration on inequality is contested. Our recent Policy Brief shows that inequality in the UK increased not because of migration, i.e. the mobility of labour, but because of the increased fallback options of capital related to increased capital mobility in the form of FDI and financialisation; declining fallback options of labour related to the decline in collective bargaining power, deregulation of the labour market, zero hours contracts and false self-employed contracts, austerity, housing crisis and rising household debt, which in turn is linked to financialisation and inequality. The quick conclusions related to the impact of immigration on inequality, without adequately decomposing the impact of all other factors, misses the point that correlation is not causation. The real solution to inequality requires regulating finance and the corporate governance of corporations, taming capital mobility, increasing public investment in social infrastructure and housing, regulating the labour market and improving the legislation to increase the voice of trade unions and collective bargaining coverage. 


  • The United Kingdom’s Brexit vote leads to a major economic shock’ by Giovanni Cozzi and Terry McKinley (2016)
    In this Policy Brief the authors argue that while the UK economy was already projected to slow over the next five years, the vote for Brexit will likely lead to even greater economic deterioration—especially if government policies of austerity are maintained. Both investment and consumption are projected to fall significantly, dragging down economic growth with them. The country’s current account might indeed improve as the Pound plummets in value. But financing from capital inflows would also be greatly diminished. Thus, the UK’s cherished position as a major international financial centre is likely to be noticeably weakened 


  • Contribution to ‘The Brexit Crisis: A Verso Report’ by Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi (2016)
    In her contribution to Brexit Crisis report by Verso, freelance journalist and WBG Board member, Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi reflects on issues faced by migrant women under Theresa May’s watch. 


  • Why Brexit shouldn’t mask Everyday Austerity‘ by Sarah Marie Hall (2016)
    Only time will tell how dramatically Brexit will impact Britain and whether it’ll plunge the country into a protracted economic slump. But Sarah Marie Hall says we shouldn’t ignore those already living in and through austerity and consider the everyday impacts of economic and social change. 


  • The EU and gender equality: Better off in, or out? Questions of inequality, gender and immigration‘ by Ania Plomien (2016)
    Ania Plomien explores the complexities of migration, gender and the EU. She notes that the referendum campaigns fused migration with EU membership, as if either remaining or leaving could have adequately resolved it. However, it is not just that the ‘the question of migration’ cannot be contained within ‘the question of Europe’; it is that the UK needs to confront both of these questions independently and in connection with each other. Britain must face this by working out what it really means to be ‘inclusive’, ‘tolerant’, ‘generous’, ‘progressive’ and ‘European’.

Links to all articles are included below: