Vote Labour, Get SNP?

Since the Scottish independence referendum, the Scottish National Party has seen its membership treble and its poll ratings climb. This boost to pro-independence forces after their referendum failure departs from the script established in previous referendums on autonomy or independence. After the failed 1979 referendum on devolution (due to a turnout requirement - the measure … Continue reading Vote Labour, Get SNP?

Aftermath of the Scottish Referendum

A few takeaways from the 55-45% victory for No in the Scottish independence referendum: The polls overestimated support for independence, just as in the 1995 Quebec referendum. Secession from a well-established democracy is extremely difficult due to voters' risk-aversion and status quo bias. Scotland's right to decide elicited salutary promises of decentralization from the British … Continue reading Aftermath of the Scottish Referendum

The Inanity of the Anti-Secessionists

To favor creating a new state somewhere is to be a dirty nationalist. To favor keeping all existing national states precisely as they are is very progressive and enlightened and not nationalist at all. How do these people believe this stuff? Even though independence would be bad for Scotland in the short to medium run, … Continue reading The Inanity of the Anti-Secessionists

On Eve of Scottish Vote, Another Look at Capital Markets

Unless the polls are systematically biased or there is a late-breaking surge in support for "Yes," the "No" campaign looks set to squeak by with a narrow victory in the Scottish independence referendum. On the betting markets, a "Yes" vote has plunged below an implied probability of 20%. What has this decline in the prospects … Continue reading On Eve of Scottish Vote, Another Look at Capital Markets

Scottish Independence and the Markets

What can we learn from capital markets about the likely consequences of Scottish independence? A trio of recent polls has shown the "Yes" side to have pulled roughly even with "No." With momentum on their side, it's not unthinkable at all that "Yes" will pull it out, resulting in the first secession from a Western … Continue reading Scottish Independence and the Markets

Scottish Independence Debate

UK Labour MP and former Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling and Scottish First Minister and Scottish National Party MSP Alex Salmond last night debated independence for Scotland as part of the campaign leading up to a referendum on September 18. While the "Yes" camp remains slightly behind in the polls, they have been catching … Continue reading Scottish Independence Debate

Why Some Scots Want to Leave the UK

Tyler Cowen thinks Scotland should stay in the UK, and so do I. But this bit of his blog post I can't quite agree with: If a significant segment of the British partnership wishes to leave, and for no really good practical reason, it is a sign that something is deeply wrong with contemporary politics … Continue reading Why Some Scots Want to Leave the UK

Persuading the Scots

The Government of Scotland has just released its 600-odd-page white paper on independence in advance of the September 18, 2014 referendum on the question. First Minister Alex Salmond and the rest of the pro-independence side have their work cut out, with the latest poll showing a 47-38% plurality in favor of "No." In part, the … Continue reading Persuading the Scots

Scottish Referendum Deal Reached

British Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond have reached a deal on the upcoming Scottish independence referendum. It looks as if the SNP have gotten what they wanted in several respects: 16- and 17-year-olds will be allowed to vote. The referendum will be held in late 2014. While the Electoral Commission … Continue reading Scottish Referendum Deal Reached

Could a Scottish Secession Referendum Bring About Salutary Decentralization?

For all the usual association of independence movements with violence and "separatism," the fact is that secessionist movements in liberal democracies usually pursue their aims peacefully, through the democratic process, and central governments resolve not to use military force to prevent secession authorized by a democratic vote (imagine that!). Such is the case in Scotland, … Continue reading Could a Scottish Secession Referendum Bring About Salutary Decentralization?

How to Solve the Scottish Referendum Question Controversy

Scotland's upcoming independence referendum has been in the news in Britain. The Scottish government wants to hold the referendum in 2014, but UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said that Westminster holds ultimate control over the wording and timing of any legally binding referendum and wants to hold the referendum sooner. Another point of contention … Continue reading How to Solve the Scottish Referendum Question Controversy