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On the causes of Brexit

Agust Arnorsson and Gylfi Zoega

European Journal of Political Economy, 2018, vol. 55, issue C, 301-323

Abstract: We analyse the voting pattern in the June 23rdreferendum on the continued participation of the United Kingdom in the European Union and evaluate the reasons for the results. We find that output, education and the share of older people at the regional level can explain attitudes towards immigrants and the European Union. Thus, regions where GDP per capita is low, a high proportion of people has low education, a high proportion is over the age of 65 and there is strong net immigration are more likely to be apprehensive of the European Union, be suspicious of immigrants and not want them as neighbours and, most importantly, to vote for Brexit. The fear of immigration does not seem to be fully justified in terms of the literature on the labour market effects of immigrants in the UK. Using the British Election Study, we find similar results. Thus negative attitudes towards immigration and EU enlargement are correlated with voting for Brexit using data on individuals.

Keywords: Brexit referendum; values; European Union (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E24 J6 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Working Paper: On the Causes of Brexit (2016) Downloads
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