Archive for global

5 Brexit questions with Economist Jan Svejnar

From Columbia News, June 24, 2016:

The fallout from Brexit, the British exit from the European Union, was nearly immediate. Every global market sank. British Prime Minister David Cameron resigned. A large U.S. investment bank announced it would move 2,000 jobs out of London to either Dublin or Frankfurt, the credit agency Standard & Poor’s said that the Britain would lose its AAA rating while Moody’s lowered its rating to negative from stable.

More shoes are still to drop, according to Jan Svejnar, the James T. Shotwell Professor of Global Political Economy at the School of International and Public Affairs. While he knew the vote would be close, he believed that Britons would ultimately stay. He was surprised the leave vote was as strong as it was, 52 percent to 48 percent.

The repercussions will be significant. “I think we are seeing the unraveling of Great Britain,” he said. Scotland, which two years ago voted no on an independence referendum, will probably opt for a new one. Northern Ireland could do the same. “We may be going from Great Britain to small England.”

Here, Svejnar answers five questions about what will happen now that Britain is withdrawing from the EU.

Q. What happens next?

A. We are already seeing the first impacts, the gyrations in the stock markets and foreign exchange markets. I think that may continue for a while. Next will come a first round of tough political decisions. German chancellor Angela Merkel will be getting together with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and French president Francois Hollande to prepare a statement and stake out their approach to the British decision.

Q. What kind of approach might that be?

A. They have to negotiate a separation, which won’t be easy. If it is done too fast and too vigorously, it could alienate other EU nations, who may insist the rest of the 25 members should have been consulted rather than having a particular solution designed by the leaders of only those three countries shoved down their throats. There are free trade policies and immigration pacts and a swath of EU regulations that must be unraveled or replaced. The EU won’t want to make it easy for Britain to leave, they don’t want this to set a precedent for other countries.

Q. What kind of economic fallout do you foresee?

A. There are two years to negotiate the exit, unless markets destabilize to such an extent that they can’t afford to take that long. All the agreements between the EU and Britain must be renegotiated. There may be a substantial relocation of capital from Britain. London could lose its status as a global hub of finance, and I’ve already heard that some banks are looking to move their headquarters.

Q. How does this affect the rest of Europe, or the world?

A. Britain is now the second largest economy in the EU, and the most outward oriented. There is a chance that Europe itself gets destabilized, because now other governments may ask for exceptions and exemptions from EU regulations. If that happens, Europe may not look to be as friendly a place to invest in, and investors may look to other parts of the world. Also, other nations will be cautious about raising interest rates, to make sure there is no economic contagion.

Q. Is there any chance that this can be reversed?

A. In principle, yes. It takes a vote of Parliament for the decision to become final. Parliament could conceivably go against the referendum, but the vote was 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent. It would be hard for it to say this was just a joke. Given that David Cameron has already resigned, I don’t see that this can be stopped.

[Photo by Bruce Gilbert]

New Student Photo Series 2012 – Post #7

We took a brief Blog hiatus but we’re back with some more photo submissions.  We received a few in the past few weeks so we will post them in the next week or so before the class arrives for Orientation on August 27th.


Today’s first set of photographs were submitted by Elisa Dumitrescu, an incoming MPA student.


All photo’s submitted were taken in various locations in Kenya.

A tailor working on the roadside at one of the busiest junctions in Nairobi

A bicycle belonging to a security guard. Most people in Kenya either walk or cycle to work – or take a minibus (matatu) at some point in their commute

Photo was taken at one of the major used clothing markets in Nairobi – Mutumba/Toy Market. Clothes are often sold in large bundles for 50 shillings a piece (less than a dollar).

Some local children in Lamu, Kenya on Shela beach


The second set of photos were submitted by Nancy Widjaja, an incoming MPA-DP student.


My best friend Liyana visited me in Bangkok in 2011 and we decided to take a detour from the usual shopping & spa routine to drive about 2.5 hours out of the city to Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua, more famously known as the Tiger Temple, in Kanchaburi province. The Theravada Buddhist temple cares for about 100 tigers and tiger cubs (most roam freely or with a simple leash!). We had the awesome opportunity of playing with about ten cute tiger cubs and we even got to bottle-feed them. They were really cute, but don’t be fooled by their innocent looks…they do bite and scratch hard!


I was really excited when I was sent to Beirut, Lebanon, to attend an OECD conference in October 2010. I had heard that Beirut is a very pretty city, but all my expectations were surpassed! The people were also very nice and warm (and beautiful!). This picture is one of my favorite from my Beirut photo set. Here the gorgeous Mohammad Al-Amin mosque, an Ottoman-style mosque established by the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and inaugurated in 2008, sits side by side with Saint George Maronite Cathedral, established in late 19th century. You can also see ruins of ancient Roman structures in the foreground. For me, it offers a taste of how beautifully diverse and rich in heritage Lebanon is.


The other ‘perk’ of living in Bangkok is that you get to do the famous Muay Thai (Thai Kickboxing) with one of the real master kickboxers. I have to admit that I quit after 2 exercise sessions – way too strenuous for someone who has been living in a sedentary life for quite a while!

"The most global public policy school, where an international community of students and faculty address world challenges."

—Merit E. Janow, Dean, SIPA, Professor of Practice, International and Economic Law and International Affairs

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