Sunday 27 November 2011


According to a study published this month in the prestigious economics journal The Journal of Economic Growth, Scotland and the Basque Country would enjoy substantial economic benefits from independence.  The study also predicted that independence for  both nations is quite likely.  The study was carried out by an international team of researchers from the Carlos III University of Madrid, the Toulouse School of Economics in France, the Southern Methodist University of the USA and the New Moscow School of Economics.
The study, entitled The Stability and Break Up of Nations: A Quantative Analysis, did not specifically examine the pros and cons of Scottish or Basque independence.  According to the researchers, their aim was to create a mathematical tool to determine whether a state would break into its constituent parts or whether neighbouring states might be better off in a union.

In devising the model the international team of economists examined pairs of countries in order to develop a mathematical model for determining how any two countries or group of countries would fare economically with greater independence or greater union between them and how likely such scenarios were.  The study ignored geopolitical factors, and instead concentrated on the economic case for independence or union.

The study also examined which EU member states would be better off from closer financial and political integration at the EU level.  The researchers found that Finland, Spain, and Greece would all enjoy an economic boost as a result of greater EU integration, but that the benefits for Germany and France were less clear cut.

Using the same model, the researchers came to the conclusion that the Basque Country and Scotland would financially benefit by leaving Spain and the UK respectively.  According to the study the amount available for public expenditure in Scotland would increase substantially after independence, the same finding was made for the Basque Country.  The study also predicted that both countries are likely to become independent in the future. 

However the same findings were not repeated for other countries in Europe which seek greater autonomy from the state they are a part of.  The study concluded that Lapland would be better off financially remaining a part of Norway and independence was unlikely.  The study also found that Sardinia would benefit economically from independence from Italy, but that Sardinia was far less likely to gain independence than Scotland or the Basque Country.

The study is based in part upon a previous study, published in 2006, which noted a correlation between poor economic performance and "artificial" states, whose borders do not correspond to those of single historical nation.  The UK and Spain are the two prime examples of such states in Western Europe.

The novel feature in this new mathematical model is that it is based not only on the economic potential of the countries but also their cultural identity, which is more original.  The model includes expected factors such as a country's wealth and other economic indicators, alongside size and cultural differences.

According to lead researcher Professor Ignacio Ortuño Ortín of the Economics Dept of Carlos III University, the most difficult aspect to quantify when making predictions is the 'measurement' of countries from a cultural point of view.  The study uses genetic differences as a proxy measurement of cultural difference.  Professor Ortuño claims that this is the most original part of the study, saying:

"We take population genetics data and then use it to support the fact that such genetic distance between regions can be used as a good tool when approaching cultural distance.

Professor Ortuño clarifies: "This does not suggest that genetics explains culture but that there is a correlation between the two.  This means that populations that have mixed more display greater cultural similarity.  We are not saying that genes explain the way a person thinks."

Using genetic data in an economic model may be controversial.  The study explains:

"Instead of relying on genetic distances as a proxy for cultural distances, an alternative would be to use data from social surveys on individuals' values.  However, the answers to many questions in opinion polls are arguably biased by short term events, such as the political business cycle.  Since we are interested in long-term decisions - secessions or unifications - information gathered from surveys or opinion polls may not be the most appropriate.  Nevertheless, we do explore this type of information, and find a strong correlation between distances based on social surveys and genetic distances."

Cultural differences are often the decisive factor in whether a country becomes independent.  After applying the model to the former Yugoslavia, the research team noted:  "Cultural differences, though small, were essential for the country's disintegration. Economic differences, though large, were not enough to cause the breakup of Yugoslavia."

When applied to the Scottish situation, the model predicts that the diverging political culture between Scotland and the rest of the UK will be the key factor leading to Scottish independence.  The model also predicts that Scottish independence is very likely to occur and that Scotland will benefit economically as a result, but does not offer a timetable.

The study will give a further boost to those who argue that Scotland will benefit financially from independence, and directly contradicts those who argue that independence would damage Scotland economically.


  1. As ever, thanks to Cynical Highlander for pointing me to this article.

  2. Did you see Willie 'indigestion' Rennie saying we'd lose millions if we got independence ? He's always trashing Scotland. Thank god the Libs will be history soon.

  3. To be honest, Monty, The Burp is a pretty small obstacle to anything.

    He's a cheap point scorer, who took lessons from Iain Gray, and we all know that's a bit of a mistake.

    If he'd wanted a role model for opposition he'd have done better to look at Ms Goldie. She at least usually HAD an argument to put and did it courteously and with humour.

    However The Burp is Michael Moore's man and Michael Moore is David Cameron's man. Enough said. Fortunately, as you say, they are a dying breed, and he is so unimpressive that I doubt if anyone outside the diminished circle of dyed in the wood Liberals pays any attention to him and his 4 deputies.

    I never describe as anti Scottish anyone who wants to stay in the UK because they just want to, they FEEL British, they have ties with England, or whatever... but people who put the country down ARE anti Scottish.

    Of course we would lose some money from London, but for heaven's sake, we're not beggars, we can make that up all £250 million of it, from our own efforts.

    It is vital that we start getting this message across and squash the nonsense that people like Rennie spout.

    Norway was poor before it had oil. Now it is unbelievably rich. We are no stupider or less capable than Norway. We could live like that.

    Instead our infrastructure is falling to pieces; our people don't have jobs, our towns are falling into disrepair, shops and shutting, the poor are cold and hungry, the young are disillusioned turning to drink and drugs...

    The benefits of the union are far from obvious around where I live.

  4. Yes tris. I'm not sure where the Lib Dems will be in a couple of years time. Thy can't even beat the greens these days.
    I see 'Mike' Moore is in Brazil drumming up business for Scotland (lol) He's managed to find £3m worth so far. Considering his plans to shift the Typhoons from Leuchars to Lossie in order to safeguard (sic) his seat at the next election will cost an extra £50m a year it's a pretty poor show. The BBC are all a twitter about Cococabana beach and how poor the weather is as they trail after Mike in Brazil. The expenses for the beeboids are probably approaching £3m. And think of the carbon footprint( if you're a global warming scammer like the BBC and Limp Dems).
    The grand prix is on in Brazil I wonder if they will visit the race. For informative reasons.
    The beeboids aren't covering the Glasgow Games but have a bottomless pit of money to cover overseas games and tournaments.
    Oh and to trail after deadbeat MPs.

  5. Yes, it's difficult to say where the Lib Dems will go, Monty.

    You could say that from the position they are in in Scotland, (the few seats that they have are down to Orkney and Shetland and 3 regional seats) the only way is up. But this man has tacked himself on to Nick Clegg like leach, and unless something very important happens in the meantime, that's not a healthy electoral position to take.

    I always think of Moore as the man for whom there was no position in the original government. Not a minister of state, not even a junior minister, not even a bag carrier PPS, then suddenly there is a vacancy at the Treasury, the SoS is promoted... and the man who wasn't good enough to get the most junior job in the government is promoted to the Cabinet as "our man in Shootland, er no I mean Scotland".

    As for the trip to Brazil, yes, I can see that that would be a good idea, but infinitely better were it a minister from Edinburgh who was going. Firstly because they are all of a higher quality (none of them being also rans) and secondly, because Mickey necessarily must present himself as a member of the UK government. Imagine if he came back with orders for England! But that must confuse the hosts a bit.

    I wonder if Mickey is keen on racing. A photo op with Jensen or Lewis.

    I wonder why the Beeb is sending its "oids" with him? Did they send them with Alex on his recent visits?

    And why aren't they covering the Glasgow games? Who is, do you know? Perhaps we should invite Norwegian tv or RTE to cover them. They would get the distribution rights to the 50 countries...

    GRRRR I can feel an anti licence rant coming on.

  6. That Newsnet website looks really good tris. Some good contributors as well. The only downside seems to be that the website believes in the global warming myth and likes windmills etc. Dissenters seem to get vilified.
    I'll read the articles with a generous pinch of salt ( belief in windmills and carbon capture etc shows a lack of awareness and taints the rest of their articles ) but I'll definitely read it regularly.

  7. "Instead our infrastructure is falling to pieces; our people don't have jobs, our towns are falling into disrepair, shops and shutting, the poor are cold and hungry, the young are disillusioned turning to drink and drugs...

    The benefits of the union are far from obvious around where I live.!

    Tris I thought those were the 'benefits' of the union, at least they seem to have been the reward for all outlying states that have found themselves a part of the 'union' or 'commonwealth'. I seem to remember the American Revolution started because of excessive taxation and repression. From the clearances to centralisation of almost everything the PTB in London have done their utmost to ensure that those in outlying places have been stripped of all power, prestige and wealth, such people (and yes I am one) are no good for anything in their eyes except perhaps as 'cannon fodder' to prosecute their wars for them...which regiments invariably found themselves in the front line of attack...nuff said!

  8. Yes, it is Throbber. I guess you just have to read the articles (like this one) where "green issues" aren't covered.


  9. nominedeus;

    LOL, yes, I suppose that is a list of "advantages".

    I guess things aren't perfect in Norway (or the other Scandinavian countries), but they are for sure a hell of a lot better than this.

    The idiotic reasons that the unionists come up with for not leaving the UK are always, in the end, some form of the "too stupid, too poor and too poor formula".

    We'd be in poverty if we left the UK because we wouldn't be able to afford to do this, that and the next thing, they say... but what the hell are we in now?

    No one in London gives a damn how the working classes in, for example, Alloa, live, with the boarded up shops, Poundland, and bookies dominating the High Street.

    I went there one day on the newly opened railway and was shocked by the poverty and desolation. But I'm sure it's not the only town in that state.

    That's the benefit of the union.

    We need to get over to people that life doesn't have to be like that.

    Look at Iceland. Yes, it was stupid allowing the economy to be based on Finance (just like the UK), but it is back on the road to recovery, because unlike the UK it didn't bail the banks out. Instead it prosecuted the bankers and the government.

    We gave them bonuses and sent the politicians to the political retirement home with a title and a guaranteed income for life of £300 a day.

    The benefits of the union...


  10. Numptynet Scotland home of the Mad ,Bad, Sad and totally delusional

    Yep! can see the similarity's between the Basque Country and Scotland they both have Extremist Nationalist who will and do grasp at any passing cranky ideas to give a very tiny fig leaf for their mad assertions.

    'The study will give a further boost to those who argue'

    well they dont need a boost maybe a Tight gag around the Gob to shut them and there mad unwanted unsupported unachievable and undemocratic notion of Independence (within the EU FFS)

    53% say no to independence accept the fact you have lost lost lost and shut the feck up

    If you want the 'Truth'
    Nuptynet Scotland (Swarming with Cybernats)is not the place to find it

    Merry Xmas and a unionist new year to you all

  11. Dear Old Niko... mad as a march hair as usual.

    Maybe, since it's so good, Niko, this union of yours, you'd like to tell me why you prefer the current way of life to one more like that of Norway...

    And while you're writing give me three great things that we would all miss if we left the union...

  12. @tris "our infrastructure is falling to pieces; our people don't have jobs, our towns are falling into disrepair, shops and shutting, the poor are cold and hungry, the young are disillusioned turning to drink and drugs..."

    Isn't that sort of stuff called "talking Scotland down...?

    It usually gets blamed on "unionists".

  13. Welcome from Scoterea or North Britain as we are castigated as by staunch unionists our public service the Haw broadcasting studio 17mins 43 secs in.

    There interpretation on that interview

    Independence referendum ‘could be a good thing’ claims leading businessman

    Now who should I believe if I hadn't heard the interview?

  14. errrrmmmm, sorry if this bursts any bubbles tris but check this out about Iceland, from the horses mouth as it were

  15. someone care to leave an explanation of how to leave 'live' links please!

  16. @tris 12.17

    "...I never describe as anti Scottish anyone who wants to stay in the UK because they just want to, they FEEL British, they have ties with England, or whatever... but people who put the country down ARE anti Scottish...."

    @tris same post...

    "...our infrastructure is falling to pieces; our people don't have jobs, our towns are falling into disrepair, shops and shutting, the poor are cold and hungry, the young are disillusioned turning to drink and drugs..."

    Clearly including tris among "people who put the country down..."

    who, according to, ahem, tris "...ARE anti Scottish."

    So. According to tris, tris IS anti-Scottish. Well. Well.

  17. Braveheart:

    I'm not talking Scotland down you stupid person.

    I'm perfectly happy to have a sensible debate with people no matter how much they disagree with me, but your snide comments remind me of the likes of Iain Gray, without either the charisma or intellect.

    Don't keep posting the same thing over and over. We've been here before with you and eventually Munguin asked you to leave.

    The whole post points out that if we got rid of the millstone of Britain we could live like Norwegians.

    As it is under the benevolent rule of the waste monster throwing OUR money all over the world in aid to places like India and Saudi Arabia, and spending it on London projects, we are left with poverty.

    Read and try to understand.

    And if you can't post sensibly, don't post at all.

  18. That's it CH...

    We need to hear more positive stories about an independent Scotland.

  19. nominedeus:

    I've had a quick read through and seems that I'm maybe a bit wide f the mark. I took what I said from an article I read in (I think) the Guardian about Iceland's recovery but I don't think that it was written by an Icelander.

    The live link came from Cynical, he's got a formula which I used to have until I have to start my computer again from scratch and I lost it all.

    Over to you CH

  20. Tris, if writing what you wrote is NOT talking down Scotland, what would qualify in your opinion?

    The inmplication is that if it's said by a nationalist it's legitimate but if it's said by anyone else it's "talking Scotland down".

    As for living like Norwegians. Maybe. But not so long ago the example was Ireland and Iceland.

    Anyway, you cannot make direct comparisons. Every country has different strengths and weaknesses and different historical contexts and different institutions and different cultures and different resources and different systems of every description.

    You can't just pick on Norway and say "we'll be like that" and ignore Ireland, and say "we used to want to be like that but not now..."

  21. Tris

    (1) nor being able to whinge (endlessly) about westmonster

    (2) The Union Flag flying over The Castle

    (3)Cheap booze oh no they are doing that all ready
    (3 again) Chip Buttys

    Nomi the answer is HERE

  22. CH

    I see what you mean about the interpretation that the BBC puts upon the interview which quite simply did not say what they said it said (if you can get through all these saids)

    I think there were some good points made in the Newsnet comments.

    Willie Bain, that great economic brain, has siad he knows companies that will hold back on investment in Scotland, and a commentator suggests that we need to know which ones so that we can make sure that we put no money their way.

    It's not unreasonable. Politicians who make these claims should be forced to back them up with facts so that we can see who doesn't want us to be independent... and we can tell them to get the hell out of our country, by removing our support.

    If, for example, I found that Asda was working against Scottish independence, buy threatening to withhold investment, I would never buy another thing from them (even if that meant going into the dreaded Tesco, supplier to Satan himself).

    It's a good point.

    I wonder if we can get some campaign going against the BBC. They are such a set of lying gits.

    Never trust them.

  23. Aye Niko... you're absolutely right...

    What would we do without these 4 things...

    You've more or less converted me...

    God, just imagine not having the butchers apron on our castle...woe woe yay thrice times woe.

  24. Ah, Professor Niko has provided the link link... if you get my meaning, nominideus.

    Thanks Niko... I lost that, and it's most useful. The trouble is that posting in this small window, that kind of link means expanding the window to be able to read the linked page...

    Argh, nothing's easy, is it.

  25. nominedeus

    I think this first may have been the article I read. The second one is interesting too (although longer!).

    Iceland wins in the end
    By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Economics Last updated: November 28th, 2011

    261 Comments Comment on this article

    The OECD has come very close to predicting a depression for Europe unless EU leaders conjure up a lender-of-last resort very quickly, and somehow manage to make the world believe that the EFSF bail-out fund really exists.
    Even if disaster is avoided, the eurozone growth forecast is dreadful. Italy, Portugal, Greece will all contract through 2012, while Spain, France, Netherlands, and Germany will bounce along the bottom.
    Unemployment will reach 18.5pc in Greece, 22.9pc in Spain, 14.1pc in Ireland, 13.8pc in Portugal.
    Yet Iceland stands out, with 2.4pc growth and unemployment tumbling to 6.1. Well, well.
    Here is the box from the OECD.

    Iceland's policy of drastic devaluation with capital controls has not proved to be the disaster that so many foretold. Its refusal to accept the full burden of private bank losses has not turned the country into leper-land.
    The nation has held its social fabric together. Had Iceland been in the eurozone, it would have been forced to pursue the same reactionary polices of "internal devaluation" and debt deflation being inflicted today on the mass ranks of unemployed across the arc of depression.
    Sorry I could not resist posting this. Shame on me.
    Tags: EFSF, EU, Europe, eurozone, France, Germany, greece, growth, iceland, italy, Netherlands, OECD, portugal, spain


  26. I think we should ignore the trolling councillor , unless he can come up with something positive to say about the Union.

    I will not be holding my breath.

  27. There are conflicting stories on how Iceland is fairing after the banks went down at least they have a democracy where power is in the hands of the people as has been shown. What annoys me is that the UK branded them as terrorists for not bailing out the banks whose top man is being protected in the City of Westminster from an arrest warrant out for him by Iceland.

    nominedeus said...

    someone care to leave an explanation of how to leave 'live' links please!

    Further to Niko's link HTML Links.

  28. RE: Tris' response to Niko:

    But since it's unforgivably rude to point out minor errors in spelling, I'll just post a cartoon.

  29. Surely the argument can be put forward that Scotland could benefit financially from remaining within the UK superstructure, but with devolution maximum?

    Wouldn't that secure us full control over everything except foreign policy and defence?

  30. Danny

    'unforgivably rude' Thats me Raison d'être

    Anyway youse are from the nation who have the Tea Party...snigger!!!
    And those freeky Orginalists let alone the Creationists

    What the Feck Happened to the good (And much loved )old U.S.A
    you know the 'American Dream'

    Oh! it came true didn't it?

  31. Excellent , thanks Niko and CH for the information on linky's...have bookmarked it (now if I can only remember that I have done that! :¬))

    Tris nice article from Brigida Jonsdotir, I sincerely hope that Iceland can make a safe getaway from the control of the IMF and the other sharks that circle them...I wish them luck!

    As to Scotland's future, I also sincerely wish that Scotland can detach itself from the rapacious beast of Westmonster and become the nation that it has the potential to be and the sooner the better, before there are no longer any reserves or wealth left.

  32. Woolfie... That's what we will do!!!

    I reckon if people have something to add, no matter how at odds it is with anyone else, it's fair to listen (or read it). But Braveheart whines and picks, like so many of the Labour councillors or MSPs and MPs. His comments have no merit at all.

    It's all so stupid and pathetic, that although I'm normally very patient, I have no time for him.

  33. Yes, CH. That made me see red too. Gordon Brown, whom I seem to remember voted to send troops to Iraq, illegally, called the Icelanders terrorists.

    He seems to forget that the banks that were lending money in the UK were actually based in the city and as such regulated by his waste of space regulators who were permanently out to lunch in more ways than one.

    With a former boss like Tony Blair and a "friend" in the then US president DubYa... he had the nerve to call anyone else terrorists?

    How ashamed was I that day to be British.

    I too wish Iceland every success. They are a plucky bunch, fewer than the population of Edinburgh, but they've built a fine republic on their island.

  34. How tactful Danny... and I wish you could see the colour of my face right now...


    You know, I used 'harebrained' the other day in something I was writing and stopped to look it up, just to be sure. As it happens it is interchangeable with "hairbrained"...

    But March hairs and very different things from March hares.


  35. Yes Niko...

    The American Dream is under considerable pressure these days. But at least we have the Tea Party Republicans to provide comic relief. Of course there's always the problem that some of them get elected to something from time to time. ;-)

  36. Dean:

    It certainly can, and you have done it eloquently in the past.


    Personally I'd prefer Scotland's foreign policy and military matters to be decided in Edinburgh, firstly because our policy, I think, would be more sensible than the UK's one.

    And secondly because I feel that to have foreign policy retained by another state says that we're too small, or stupid to be able to cope with foreigners ourselves. And we're not.

    Norway's not, Malta's not, Iceland's not... why would we be?

    I know that devo max is a much better place to be than where we are just now, and I don't deny it's a step in the right direction.

    And of course as sister, or brother nations, there would be much we could agree on and save money on by sharing, as they do in Scandinavia, but let's be honest...are you happy with the performance of Willie Hague?


  37. Of course, Dean, when I said we would be fine dealing with foreigners ourselves, that was before I read Niko's response to poor old Danny!

    I take it all back.

  38. Niko: You have just forfeited any chance you had of being posted as ambassador to the USA in the new independent Scotland.

    Specially as I have a notion Danny is going to be their ambassador in Edinburgh.

  39. nominedeus... I wholeheartedly echo your sentiments for Iceland and Scotland.

  40. Yes Tris.....We ARE pretty sensitive on this side of the Atlantic. Niko once called me an "American", and I responded with a complaint of verbal abuse.

  41. You can get your own back on him Danny when you are presenting your credentials at Holyrood Palace, and he's outside sweeping the leaves off her majesty's lawns.