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Opinion

Figuring Out Which Companies and Industries Will Be Most Damaged by Brexit

By Pankaj Ghemawat

Pankaj Ghemawat

The British companies that may have private reasons to cheer are those focused on the UK that are trying to hold off regional or even global competitors at home.

Now that Theresa May, the British prime minister, has announced that the UK will invoke Article 50, triggering a two-year countdown to withdrawal from the European Union, some things have become clearer. Though it is hard to predict how a bargaining game involving strong emotions as well as economics will play out, we can offer some conjectures about what will happen.

These conjectures are mostly based on what I have called the law of distance — the observation that the interactions between two countries are proportional to their sizes (GDPs) and inversely proportional to the distance between them. Distance, in this sense, is not just physical distance but also cultural distance (e.g., whether two countries have different/similar official languages) and administrative distance (e.g., the absence or presence of a historical colony-colonizer link between the two). The law of distance has been associated with some of the most robust results in international economics, which is why it underpinned the UK Treasury’s generally well-regarded analysis, a year ago, of the long-term consequences of Brexit.

See the full article published by Harvard Business Review
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Pankaj Ghemawat is a Global Professor of Management and Strategy and Director of the Center for the Globalization of Education and Management.