Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Brexit: Four charts to explain why did Britain make the decision to leave the EU

Popov, Vladimir (2022): Brexit: Four charts to explain why did Britain make the decision to leave the EU.

[thumbnail of MPRA_paper_115465.pdf]

Download (671kB) | Preview


After the Second World War British industry was oriented towards the markets of former colonies, where the standards of efficiency and quality were not that high, so it was gradually loosing competitiveness as compared to its European counterparts. Britain was falling behind continental Europe in productivity and personal income until it entered the EU in 1973: the UK did not start growing faster than continental Europe, but at least stopped falling behind. EU membership definitely benefited Britain mostly because it gained free access to the burgeoning markets of continental Europe. However, only a minority of the population benefited from the acceleration of economic growth: since the early 1980s income and wealth inequalities increased greatly. A large group of less well-off UK voters did not really have a chance to benefit from gains of British EU membership because these gains accrued mostly to the richest.

The British elite, however, blamed the relative deterioration of the disadvantaged part of the population not on its own policies (failing to curb the rise of inequalities), but on globalization, foreign competition and the EU. The goal was to get the better deal from Brussels (even better than the special conditions granted to the country when it entered the EU in 1973). But the side effect was the rise of nationalism and anti EU mood among the disadvantaged groups, especially in less competitive and depression prone parts of the country.

At the end of the day, it turned out that the British elite outsmarted itself: it was trying to play the “brexit card” for getting minor concessions from the EU, but instead lost the free access to the European market altogether.

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact us: mpra@ub.uni-muenchen.de

This repository has been built using EPrints software.

MPRA is a RePEc service hosted by Logo of the University Library LMU Munich.