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  • European Spring: Why Our Economies and Politics are in a Mess – and How to Put Them Right

    Britain and the rest of Europe are in a mess. Our economies are failing to deliver higher living standards for most people – and many have lost faith in politicians’ ability to deliver a brighter future, with support for parties like UKIP soaring. Are stagnation, decline and disillusionment inevitable?

  • Aftershock: Reshaping the World Economy After the Crisis — out now

    The financial crisis brought the world to the brink of economic breakdown. But now bankers’ bonuses are back, house prices are rising again and politicians promise recovery – all this while unemployment remains high, debts mount, frictions with China grow and the planet overheats.
    Is this really sustainable – or do we need to change course?

  • Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them

    Immigration divides our globalising world like no other issue. We are being swamped by bogus asylum-seekers and infiltrated by terrorists, our jobs stolen, our benefit system abused, our way of life destroyed – or so we are told. Why are ever-rising numbers of people from poor countries arriving in Europe, North America and Australasia? Can we keep them out? Should we even be trying?

    Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them

After two years of hard work, my new think-tank, Open Political Economy Network (OPEN), has finally launched today with a ground-breaking new study by me on how refugees can contribute to the economy. The report is co-published with Hamdi Ulukaya’s Tent Foundation, whose mission is to help forcibly displaced people. A key finding, based on IMF figures, is that investing one euro in welcoming refugees can boost the economy by nearly two euros within five years.

“This is a truly excellent report which should be read by anyone wishing to be informed on the subject, and particularly by policymakers,” said Peter Sutherland, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for International Migration and Development.

Please check out OPEN’s new website, , where you can download the report at and join OPEN’s mailing list. Follow OPEN on Twitter at@open2progress, join our Facebook group, and watch our fundraising video on Indiegogo’s at  All the money raised will help to pay for a campaigns, social media and events organiser to publicise this study and OPEN’s future work.

Posted 20 May 2016 in Blog, Immigration, OPEN, Refugees

I have evidence to the House of Lords’ Economic Affairs committee on what a post-Brexit immigration system should look like. Watch it here.

My testimony was quoted in The Sun and the Express.

The BBC posted a clip of me explaining why immigration tends to boost GDP per capita.

Posted 23 Feb 2017 in BBC Online, Blog, Brexit, Britain, Immigration

Refugees are a tiny proportion of the U.S. population — some 3.3 million have been admitted since 1975 — but they have had an outsized impact. Google co-founder Sergey Brin was a child refugee from the Soviet Union; Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is now America’s second-most valuable firm, with a market capitalization of $553 billion. WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum and PayPal co-founder Max Levchin were refugees from Ukraine. The late Andy Grove, who helped start and was later CEO of Intel, fled from communist Hungary. So, too, did hedge-fund manager and philanthropist George Soros; Thomas Peterffy, the founder of Interactive Brokers Group; and Steven Udvar-Hazy, the founder of Air Lease Corp.

People originating from the seven countries on Trump’s blacklist already have contributed a lot to America. eBay was founded by an Iranian-American, Pierre Omidyar. Its market capitalization of $36.1 billion dwarfs the value of Trump’s unlisted business holdings, while Omidyar’s self-made $8.2 billion fortune is more than twice as big as Trump’s partly inherited one. Oracle Corp., a software giant worth $162.2 billion, was co-founded by the late Bob Miner, who was also Iranian-American. While the communities from the other countries are much smaller and generally more recent, one notable Somali-American is author and activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an outspoken critic of both Islamic extremism and Trump’s anti-Muslim policies.

Read my piece for Foreign Policy

Theresa May has finally set out her Brexit negotiating objectives. While she belatedly recognised that curtailing free movement requires leaving the single market, she wasn’t honest about the implications of leaving the customs union and her two-year timetable for striking an exit and a trade deal is unrealistic. The chances of Britain leaving without a deal, let alone a “phased implementation” of it, have risen. Businesses should prepare for a very hard, chaotic, cliff-edge Brexit. My column for Project Syndicate

Posted 19 Jan 2017 in Blog, Brexit, Project Syndicate
Posted 26 Dec 2016 in Blog, Refugees, TEDx

My column for Project Syndicate

Posted 08 Dec 2016 in Blog, euro, Italy, Project Syndicate

My column for CapX

Posted 22 Nov 2016 in Blog, Britain, CapX, Immigration

A hard Brexit would be a disaster for Britain’s economy, especially in a more protectionist Trump world – and we are already all poorer due to the pound’s plunge.

My column for Prospect

Posted 18 Nov 2016 in Blog, Brexit, Prospect

My column for the Brussels Times

I was interviewed on Bloomberg’s What’d You Miss on 10 November about the harm that Trump’s protectionist trade policies could do – and what that would imply for a post-Brexit Britain.

Watch it here

Posted 10 Nov 2016 in Blog, Bloomberg, Trade, Trump

So much for the end of history. Twenty-seven years to the day after the fall of the Berlin Wall heralded the collapse of communism in Europe, Donald Trump’s election as US president endangers the liberal international order that his wiser, broader-minded predecessors crafted.

Trump’s “America First,” anti-“globalist” agenda threatens protectionist trade wars, a worldwide “clash of civilizations,” the peace in Europe and East Asia, and further violence in the Middle East. His nativist and authoritarian views also undermine the shared values, faith in liberal democracy, and assumption of benign American hegemony on which the rules-based international system depends. Already in relative decline, the United States is now poised for an angry retreat from the world.

Read my latest column for Project Syndicate.

I was interviewed on BBC World Service’s On Background by Zanny Minton Beddoes and James Harding about the future of globalisation on 28 October.

Listen here, from around 7 minutes in. Also available here


Posted 28 Oct 2016 in BBC Online, Blog, Globalisation

Mayday in the UK

By Philippe Legrain Add your comment

Conservative Brexiteers – who campaigned for the United Kingdom to vote to leave the European Union – continue to blather about building an open, outward-looking, free-trading Britain. But the UK is in fact turning inward. Prime Minister Theresa May, who styles herself as the UK’s answer to Angela Merkel, is turning out to have more in common with Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front, than with Germany’s internationalist chancellor.

Read my Project Syndicate column on Britain’s illiberal turn.

Writing on “integration overstretch” in the Jakarta Post, Shofwan Al Banna Choiruzzad quotes my recent piece on EU disintegration for Project Syndicate:

The EU is feeling the symptoms of an “integration overstretch”. A rush toward deep regional integration without properly managing the real and perceived impacts of such a process created the backlash that we see today.

“To counter these forces of disintegration,” Philippe Legrain says, the EU “must do less and do it better”. The former advisor to the president of the European Commission argued that the EU’s plan for new institutions “can wait” and the priority should be on “how to raise the living standards of all”. While it is clear that ASEAN and the EU is different, I do believe that this advice also fits for ASEAN.


Posted 22 Aug 2016 in Blog, Europe

My latest column for Project Syndicate

Posted 10 Aug 2016 in Blog, Brexit, Europe, Project Syndicate

My piece for IOD Ireland

Posted 09 Jul 2016 in Blog, Brexit, IOD, Ireland

More topical than ever, my debate with Ed West for Bright Blue’s magazine, Centre Write.

Posted 01 Jul 2016 in Blog, Bright Blue, Britain, Immigration

My piece for CapX

Posted 27 Jun 2016 in Blog, Brexit, CapX

My piece for the New York Times

Posted 27 Jun 2016 in Blog, Brexit, New York Times

My On Point wrap-up piece for Project Syndicate.

Posted 27 Jun 2016 in Blog, Brexit, Project Syndicate

My piece for Svenska Dagbladet

Posted 19 Jun 2016 in Blog, Brexit, Europe, Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden