Researcher ORCID Identifier

Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Eric Hughson

Rights Information

@2023 Weiliang Zhang


In Brexit’s announcement-day returns in 2016, the nations of Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain (derogatorily termed PIIGS), as well as Britain, performed significantly worse than other EU nations. For many investors, Britain’s poor performance was confirmation that Britain’s economy would underperform without the aid of the European Union. Conversely, the PIIGS’ low announcement-day returns were a reflection of the weakened European Union after the UK’s exit. PIIGS’ economies were disproportionately impacted by the weakening of the European Union, more than any other European member. While this has meant that PIIGS had the weakest economies during the European debt crisis, the strengthening of the European Union should also disproportionately benefit the countries. Against investor predictions, the European Union did not unravel over the past six years, which is evident through both overall GDP and trade growth. Given this information, I expect a superior PIIGS stock market performance from the period 2016-2022. Using the CAPM model to assess alpha, I found that the UK underperformed in comparison to other European members, suggesting that the UK was in fact hurt economically by Brexit. Furthermore, although the PIIGS nations did not outperform the rest of Europe as a group, Greece in particular did very well, seeing positive excess returns.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.