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Was Brexit triggered by the old and unhappy? Or by financial feelings?

Author

Listed:
  • Liberini, Federica
  • Oswald, Andrew J.
  • Proto, Eugenio
  • Redoano, Michela

Abstract

On 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom voted in favour of ‘Brexit’. This paper is an attempt to understand why. It examines the micro-econometric predictors of anti-EU sentiment. The paper provides the first evidence for the idea that a key channel of influence was through a person’s feelings about his or her own financial situation. By contrast, the paper finds relatively little regression-equation evidence for the widely discussed idea that Brexit was favoured by the old and the unhappy. The analysis shows that UK citizens’ feelings about their incomes were a substantially better predictor of pro-Brexit views than their actual incomes. This seems an important message for economists, because the subject of economics has typically avoided the study of human feelings in favour of ‘objective’ data.

Suggested Citation

  • Liberini, Federica & Oswald, Andrew J. & Proto, Eugenio & Redoano, Michela, 2019. "Was Brexit triggered by the old and unhappy? Or by financial feelings?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 161(C), pages 287-302.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:161:y:2019:i:c:p:287-302
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.03.024
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Dimitris Georgarakos & Konstantinos Tatsiramos, 2019. "Monetary policy transmission to consumer financial stress and durable consumption," CESifo Working Paper Series 7671, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Pawel Dlotko & Simon Rudkin & Wanling Qiu, 2019. "An Economic Topology of the Brexit vote," Papers 1909.03490, arXiv.org.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Referendum; European Union; Satisfaction; Happiness; Voting; Happiness; Discontent;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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