Bryan Caplan  

Pre-Brexit Bet Clarification

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Back in 2008, I bet:
If any current EU member with a population over 10 million people in 2007 officially withdraws from the EU before January 1, 2020, I will pay you $100. Otherwise, you owe me $100.
Before the June 23 Brexit referedum happens, I want to clarify that a majority vote for "Leave" is not sufficient for official withdrawal.  I will happily concede defeat if and when (a) the European Union officially removes Britain from its list of members, or (b) the British government officially announces a unilateral withdrawal.

If any of my betting partners objects, I am willing to defer to a mutually acceptable arbiter.


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COMMENTS (6 to date)
Nebfocus writes:

"officially withdraws"

Yep, your conclusion seems reasonable.

From the Wikipedia article:

"The act makes no provision for the result to be legally binding on the government or on any future government due to the principle of parliamentary sovereignty."

Yeah, you seem right about this bet clarification.

Mr. Econotarian writes:

What happens if the voters vote for Brexit, but Parliament refuses to enact legislation to leave? This is a real possibility.

blink writes:

I concur that the clarification is fair and accurate, but what does its timing signal about Bryan's beliefs regarding the vote and exit at this point? Two questions for Bryan:

1) At what odds would you bet that the vote favors "stay"?

2) Given the state of the world today, would you accept EU bets on the same terms as those you clarify here? (Or: What are you current beliefs about a major member leaving before 2020?)

MichaelT writes:

You're reasoning seems correct. But, with the recent murder of an MP I'd anticipate a lot more violence if the Leave vote wins and Parliament refuses to abide by it.

Robert writes:

The formal mechanism for withdrawal from the EU is under article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. This provides for a member state to withdraw "in accordance with its own constitutional requirements". To trigger this the member state needs to inform the European Council of its intention to withdraw. It's completely unclear to me whether withdrawal could be enacted using the royal prerogative, or whether parliamentary agreement is required. The referendum itself has no legal consequences - it is purely advisory.

So I think that Bryan should be considered to have lost the bet if the UK informs the European Council under article 50 of the Lisbon treaty of its intention to withdraw.

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