Scotland in 2050: Realising our global potential

We live in eventful times both politically and economically. In Europe, the global financial crisis has fuelled the rise of ‘populist’ parties many of whom reject the model of economic integration that has underpinned global growth for the last 70+ years.

In June 2018, The Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI) was commissioned by Shepherd and Wedderburn as part of its 250th Anniversary to produce this report.

Its purpose is to initiate a conversation with business leaders and industry bodies on how Scotland could best position itself for the future. To help facilitate such engagement, this short report aims to set the scene and to pose some initial questions for discussion.

 Key Findings

  • Scotland is a rich and prosperous nation.
  • We rank highly on indicators of economic prosperity and compare well to other advanced economies and different parts of the UK.
  • We have substantial natural resources, a skilled workforce and key strengths in sectors such as food and drink, tourism, energy and financial and professional services.
  • But the last 10 years have not been without major challenges. Growth remains below trend and household earnings have been squeezed.
  • Scotland has always been an open and global trading nation, and this will continue to be a key source of growth in the years ahead.
  • But recent political and economic instability has helped to create a more uncertain outlook for the global economy.


James is a Fellow at the Fraser of Allander Institute. He specialises in economic policy, modelling, trade and climate change. His work includes the production of economic statistics to improve our understanding of the economy, economic modelling and analysis to enhance the use of these statistics for policymaking, data visualisation to communicate results impactfully, and economic policy to understand how data can be used to drive decisions in Government.

Picture of Graeme Roy, director of the Fraser of Allander Institute
Graeme Roy

Dean of External Engagement in the College of Social Sciences at Glasgow University and previously director of the Fraser of Allander Institute.