CID Speaker Series Seminar: Taking back control or losing it? An analysis of the possible economic impact of Brexit


Monday, September 25, 2017, 4:15pm to 5:30pm


WAPPP Conference Room (Taubman 102), Harvard Kennedy School - 79, JFK Street

Speaker: María C. Latorre, member of the European Commission's group of experts in International Trade; Professor, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

About the talk: According to the majority of economic studies and to the European Commission's estimations, Brexit will be far more damaging for the UK than for the European Union (EU). From the economic point of view, it seems less harmful for both to be able to negotiate a soft Brexit with rather small barriers. However, for political reasons the EU may want to deter other nations from following the UK’s path and may want to negotiate a self-damaging hard Brexit.

Brexit implies a shrinking of the EU market and, in that sense, is not good news for UK neither for EU. Firms lose profit opportunities. However, given the much larger size of EU, the process is much more harmful for UK. In fact, the EU is able to recover a sizeable part of its lost trade with the UK through the rise of intra-EU free trade. The UK has forsaken this privileged preferential access to EU, thus, negatively affecting half of its aggregate exports and imports. Overall, although Brexit may offer good prospects for some manufacturing firms coming from outside the Brexit block, at a more aggregate level benefits for outsiders seem scarce. Brexit’s scope seems confined to the EU landscape.

The negative impact of trade and foreign direct investment seems to be more important than UK’s contributions to the EU budget (with a maximum net fiscal saving of -0.53% of UK’s GDP), or reductions in the flows of migrants. However, very restrictive migration policies in the UK, such as a reduction in “all EU migrants”, “net EU migrants” or the “5-year policy” the government is talking about could be even more damaging than trade and FDI related effects of Brexit.

 Maria LatorreAbout the Speaker: María C. Latorre is currently a member of the group of experts in international trade of the European Commission. She has also conducted other consulting projects for the World Bank and the Spanish Ministry of Economics and Competitiveness. Maria has been a Research Scholar at the Center for International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School and at Real Colegio Complutense at Harvard University. She has held research visiting positions in the US International Trade Commission, the CEPII and the University of Nottingham. Her papers have been published in academic journals such as World Development, Journal of Policy Modeling, Economic Modelling and China Economic Review among others.

This event is co-sponsored by:

CES logo