Banks’ ‘Project Fear’ Brexit forecasts were commercially driven ‘propaganda’, economists say –

Banks’ ‘Project Fear’ Brexit forecasts were commercially driven ‘propaganda’, economists say –

Pro and anti-Brexit protesters stand with placards outside the Houses of Parliament in central London on September 3, 2019
Economists who stood to lose financially from Brexit used their status as ‘experts’ to warn that a ‘leave’ vote in 2016 would send growth tumbling in 2017, only for voters to ignore them. Growth performed far better than they had claimed


Doom-laden warnings of economic catastrophe before the Brexit referendum were driven in part by commercial worries by economists at the banks that stood to lose the most from a ‘leave’ vote, economists have found.

Analysts at institutions that faced the biggest potential losses from the referendum typically issued worse economic forecasts than those with less financial incentive to campaign to remain, according to Davide Cipullo and André Reslow of Uppsala University in Sweden.

Voters often have little economic expertise and so may look out for expert forecasts of the impact of different vote, even while those expert economists have big incentives to seek to influence the referendum through their…

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