Europe

UK think tank says exit from EU would be 'significant shock'

  • Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of Britain's Labour Party poses for a photograph with young supporters at the launch of 'Labour In for Britain', ahead of June's EU referendum, in London, Tuesday, May 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

    Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of Britain's Labour Party poses for a photograph with young supporters at the launch of 'Labour In for Britain', ahead of June's EU referendum, in London, Tuesday, May 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)  (The Associated Press)

  • Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron leaves after delivering a speech on the European Union at the British Museum in central London, Monday May 9, 2016. Raising the stakes in Britain's European Union membership debate, Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday that leaving the bloc would increase the risk of war in Europe. (Leon Neal/Pool via AP)

    Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron leaves after delivering a speech on the European Union at the British Museum in central London, Monday May 9, 2016. Raising the stakes in Britain's European Union membership debate, Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday that leaving the bloc would increase the risk of war in Europe. (Leon Neal/Pool via AP)  (The Associated Press)

A British think tank says a decision by U.K. voters to leave the European Union would represent a significant shock to the economy — with the pound dropping by as much as 20 percent in the immediate aftermath of the June 23 referendum.

Economists at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research estimated Tuesday that economic growth would slow to 1.9 percent in 2017, compared to a rate of 2.7 percent if Britain remains in the 28-nation bloc.

NIESR joins economists at the International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the U.K. Treasury in warning of the consequences of a British exit.

NIESR says a so-called "Brexit" would see consumer spending per person fall by between 500 pounds and 2,000 pounds a year by 2030.