In the FT, Paul McClean reports that according to FT estimates and as a consequence of Brexit, the UK will have to negotiate more than 700 treaties with third countries. More than 160 countries need to be dealt with; Switzerland, the US and Norway stand out.
Some negotiations have to be concluded very soon:
… the EU-US Open Skies accord for airlines, were agreed when the forces of liberalisation were at their peak. The political mood has hardened considerably since then. … The timing is tight. The US needs to know the UK’s arrangements with the EU before it can commit, and that may not be clear until late 2018. … “It is not as if you can wait until March 2019 to see what the regime will be. You probably need clarity by the early summer or spring of 2018.”
In a CEPR Discussion Paper, Sascha Becker, Thiemo Fetzer, and Dennis Novy argue that education and income mainly explain voting outcomes. In the abstract of their paper, the authors write:
We find that exposure to the EU in terms of immigration and trade provides relatively little explanatory power for the referendum vote. Instead, … fundamental characteristics of the voting population were key drivers of the Vote Leave share, in particular their education profiles, their historical dependence on manufacturing employment as well as low income and high unemployment. … within cities, we find that areas with deprivation in terms of education, income and employment were more likely to vote Leave.
A report by Open Europe argues that for the UK the cost of Brexit would be minor. The benefits might be minor as well. For interest groups could make it hard to reap the potential benefits of newly gained flexibility.
… the path to prosperity outside the EU lies through: free trade and opening up to low cost competition, maintaining relatively high immigration (albeit with a different mix of skills), and pushing through deregulation and economic reforms in areas where the UK has historically been sub-par compared to international partners. … whether there is appetite for such changes in the UK is unclear.
… implications for the type of relationship the UK should seek with the EU post-Brexit. Realising the potential economic gains we’ve identified – notably via immigration and deregulation – means a relatively high degree of flexibility from the EU. The confines of a Norwegian or Swiss-style arrangement would not deliver this. As such, the best option would be for the UK to pursue a comprehensive bilateral free trade agreement, aimed at maintaining as much of the current market access as possible while also adopting a broader liberalisation agenda over the longer term.
Update: The Economist reports about other cost/benefit estimates.