Brexit Opposed by Goodhart Among Almost 200 Economists in Letter

  • Former BOE policy makers Wadhwani, Blanchflower included
  • Wren-Lewis, Magnus, Yates, Coyle among signatories to Times

Three former Bank of England policy makers including Charles Goodhart were among almost 200 economists who signed a letter in the London-based Times on Thursday opposing a U.K. exit from the European Union.

“Focusing entirely on the economics, we consider that it would be a major mistake for the U.K. to leave,” they wrote. “Leaving would entail significant long-term costs.”

The signatories, including former BOE policy makers Goodhart, Sushil Wadhwani and David Blanchflower, described as “plausible” the various estimates of the potential damage to the British economy published by institutions including the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the U.K. government. The Treasury’s assessment, released on April 18, was that economic output could be as much 7.5 percent lower after 15 years than it would be otherwise.  

“In addition, there is a sizable risk of a short-term shock to confidence if we were to see a leave vote on June 23,” the economists wrote. “The Bank of England has signaled this concern clearly, and we share it.”

Academic economists on the letter include Simon-Wren Lewis and George Magnus of Oxford University, Tony Yates of Birmingham University, Diane Coyle of Manchester University and Paul Levine of Surrey University. There were 196 signatories, the Times said.

Among private-sector analysts on the list are Stephanie Flanders of JPMorgan Asset Management, Michael Grady of Aviva Investors, former Treasury minister Kitty Ussher of Tooley Street Research, Toby Nangle of Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Alberto Gallo of Algebris Investments and Erik Nielsen of UniCredit.

“Canvassing colleagues unearthed a large constituency of those who wanted to sign but could not,” Yates, one of the organizers, wrote on his blog. “There are many in think tanks, or with responsible positions on funding bodies, or working as economists in the private sector, whose roles constrain them from putting their names to these letters.”

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