Author | Editor: Kuznar, E. (NSI, Inc.)
Three datasets on wealth and status distribution in United Kingdom were analyzed: 2015 World Bank quintile and decile estimates of income, and International Labor Organization (ILO) income by occupation data for years 2017 and 2011.
Income data form the World Bank and occupational data from ILO indicate that the United Kingdom is highly risk acceptant. Despite this similarity, the relationship between wealth attainment and risk acceptance between the two sources is different. The World Bank data indicates a country in which the individuals who make the highest incomes are the least risk averse. while the data from ILO shows a positive relationship between the average income for an occupation and an increase in risk aversion.
Significance for Risk Taking and Stability
The United Kingdom’s propensity for risk taking can be currently observed through the UK’s referendum to leave the European Union, which is planned to take place later in 2019 (BBC, 2019). However, the impact Brexit will have on stability and the UK and its institutions is still unknown as it has been delayed repeatedly.
Implications for US Interests
The United States has an important relationship with the United Kingdom as it has been a long time ideological and political ally against autocratic states including Russia. The US also holds the UK as a strategically important player due to its current position in the EU (Belin, 2019). The United Kingdom has been a US ally in its activities outside of Europe against Chinese encroachment into the South China Sea. Despite this, economic changes from the UK leaving the EU will occur within the next year, challenging the US-UK relationship. The scope and impact of these changes has yet to be understood. The economic changes that will occur have far reaching implications because of the large trade between the US and UK (United States Trade Representatives, 2019). Much more important than their trade relationship is their political partnership, both strategically with respect to security/coalition issues and with respect to soft power (Belin, 2019). The UK’s risk acceptant population is a risk to the US interests because this population has chosen disruptive political and economic changes that may destabilize the country.
Implications for China’s Interests
China sees a post-EU United Kingdom as a potential economic partner. The UK’s planned exit from the EU has led to Chinese economic overtures, suggesting a potential free-trade deal and the connection of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to London (Johnson, 2019). China and the UK have little political differences with one other than the UK’s joint military operations with the US (Kelly, 2019). Despite the UK’s close ties to the US, its risk acceptant population gives China an opportunity to increase its standings politically and economically as it looks to extend its BRI to London (Johnson, 2019).
Implications for Russia’s Interests
Russia has little direct influence within the United Kingdom. Other than their historic ties as two of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, the two countries are fundamentally at odds with each other on an ideological level (House of Commons, 2017). While the upcoming Brexit may offer the opportunity to soften Russian-UK relations, it is unlikely to cause wide ranging or deep changes. Despite the unlikelihood of changes in Russia and the UK’s relationship the UK’s risk acceptant population provides Russia an opportunity, as Brexit will weaken the UK’s connection to the EU.