The Economist / THIS week the Institute for Economic Affairs, a British think-tank, awarded a prize of €100,000 ($138,000) for the most compelling plan for a British withdrawal from the European Union. The winner, a British diplomat named Iain Mansfield, reckoned that “Brexit” would probably lift the British economy by 0.1%. It could enjoy a boost to GDP as big as 1.1%, he argued, provided it succeeding in maintaining access to the European market, swept away a few of the EU’s regulatory impositions and took the opportunity to embark on a slate of unrelated reforms. But, he warns, a meaningful deterioration in Britain’s link to the European economy would cost the country dearly, slashing British output by 2.6%.
In a separate study, Nauro Campos of Brunel University, Fabrizio Coricelli of the Paris School of Economics and Luigi Moretti of the University of Padua perform a cost-benefit assessment of EU membership. The authors find a strong and persistent return to joining the EU in almost all cases—Greece being a dramatic exception. Real GDP per person in Portugal, adjusted for differences in prices among the countries studied, is 21% higher as a result of accession, they reckon. In Ireland the gain is 43%.