Scotland politics

At-a-glance: Reports examine the economics of Scottish independence

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The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has published a wide-ranging economic review of the case for Scottish independence.

It features six papers - some new, some revised - which cover a range of economic issues.

BBC Scotland has taken a detailed look at the reports. For more information on each of the papers, click on the links below.

Scotland's economic and fiscal implications of moving to independence

This paper looks at what independence could mean for Scotland's economy.

Scotland's economic performance and fiscal make-up are key elements in the debate ahead of September's referendum.

However, in terms of understanding Scotland's economic performance, the situation is complicated by the high degree of overseas ownership, especially with regards to North Sea activity, and the importance of a natural commodity, oil.

Scotland: Currency options and public debt

This paper considers which currency option would be best for an independent Scotland.

It examines three currency options: being part of a sterling currency zone, adopting the euro, or having an independent currency.

The paper states that no currency option comes out best when considered against all criteria. Therefore, making the decision requires deciding which criteria are most important.

Funding pensions in Scotland: Would independence matter?

This paper compares the overall costs of providing pensions in an independent Scotland against the resources that are available to cover these costs.

Pensions are a key element of the economic case for or against independence.

The paper says costs of funding pensions in an independent Scotland would be influenced by mortality risks, the costs of borrowing and the segmentation of costs and risks (ie pricing to Scotland's experience rather than pooled across-UK experience).

Can an ageing Scotland afford independence?

This paper evaluates the economic effects of population ageing in the context of Scottish independence.

An evaluation is made both of what would happen if Scotland becomes independent, and if it remains in the UK. Under independence, Scotland would finance its pensions alone while, as part of the UK, pensions would be funded jointly.

The authors found that Scotland would be slightly worse off under independence, but that this difference is small compared with the effects of ageing on both economies.

Fiscal challenges and opportunities for an independent Scotland

This paper looks at some of the key fiscal questions related to Scottish independence, drawing on detailed analysis of household survey data, official data on public spending and revenues, and using a model of the UK and Scotland's public finances over the next half a century.

It examines how and why public spending on, and revenues raised from, Scotland differ from the average across the UK, and how Scotland's fiscal position might be expected to evolve over the next 50 years under current policies.

The broad conclusion is that Scotland would face a tougher fiscal challenge over the next 50 years than the UK as a whole, but independence would allow Scotland to have a tax and benefits system better suited for its population.

The political economy of small European states; and lessons for Scotland

This paper provides analysis on the different political models that an independent Scotland might choose.

The authors distinguish between the market competition state - similar to Ireland or the Baltics - on the one hand, and the social investment state model favoured by the Nordic countries, as well as discussing corporatist models.

The authors conclude with an examination of which of these models fits most closely to Scotland.

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