Sine praejudicio? Economics and the 2014 Scottish independence referendum



Dow S, McMaster R & Cumbers A (2018) Sine praejudicio? Economics and the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 42 (3), pp. 597-615.

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the contribution of expert economic opinion to the 2014 referendum campaigns on Scottish independence. We argue that the input from economics to both sides of the debate, as well as to independent analysis, was constrained by a mainstream economics framing. The result was a focus on calculable outcomes predicated on unchanging institutions and behaviour, and the question of currency arrangements that assumes the status quo is an optimal currency area. As the consequences of constitutional change for institutions and behaviour are uncertain, an equilibrium framework treats anything beyond calculable prediction as a shock, inducing fear of the unknown. In contrast, a political economy approach is tailored to analysing uncertain developments and encompassing the broader issues relating to values, democracy and power, and is thus better suited to the analysis of constitutional change.

Constitutional change; Argument; Keynes’ weight of argument; Scottishindependence referendum; Political economy

Cambridge Journal of Economics: Volume 42, Issue 3

Publication date31/05/2018
Publication date online24/01/2018
Date accepted by journal06/11/2017
PublisherOxford University Press

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Professor Sheila Dow

Professor Sheila Dow

Emeritus Professor, Economics