Follow the money: “the Barnett formula will continue, suggesting the Scottish government’s budget will remain heavily dependent on transfers.”
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 government. My book found that countries with legal secession saw more decentralization than countries without, and countries with legal secession never recentralized power in the post-World War 2 era, according to the measure of regional autonomy I used.
- While Westminster is likely to follow through on some additional powers for Scotland, they are not likely to approach anything like “devolution max.” For one thing, the Barnett formula will continue, suggesting the Scottish government’s budget will remain heavily dependent on transfers. For another, significant powers for Scotland will require wholesale constitutional reform, particularly to…
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