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On the Causes of Brexit

Author

Listed:
  • Agust Arnorsson

    (University of Iceland)

  • Gylfi Zoega

    (University of Iceland
    Birkbeck, University of London)

Abstract

We analyse the voting pattern in the June 23rd referendum on the continued participation of the United Kingdom in the European Union and evaluate the reasons for the results. We find that regions where GDP per capita is low, a high proportion of people have 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 E.U., consider the enlargement of the E.U. as having gone too far, 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. Looking at the response of the sterling exchange to poll numbers we find that investors appear to view Brexit as a negative event.

Suggested Citation

  • Agust Arnorsson & Gylfi Zoega, 2016. "On the Causes of Brexit," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 1605, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bbk:bbkefp:1605
    as

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    File URL: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/ems/research/wp/2016/PDFs/BWPEF1605.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2016
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lars Jonung, 2004. "To be or not to be in the euro? Benefits and costs of monetary unification as perceived by voters in the Swedish euro referendum 2003," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 205, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
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    3. Anna Maria Mayda, 2006. "Who Is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 510-530, August.
    4. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
    5. David Card, 2005. "Is the New Immigration Really so Bad?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(507), pages 300-323, November.
    6. Sara Lemos & Jonathan Portes, 2008. "New Labour? The Impact of Migration from Central and Eastern European Countries on the UK Labour Market," Discussion Papers in Economics 08/29, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    7. Nicholas Crafts, 2005. "Regional Gdp In Britain, 1871-1911: Some Estimates," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 52(1), pages 54-64, February.
    8. Marco Manacorda & Alan Manning & Jonathan Wadsworth, 2012. "The Impact Of Immigration On The Structure Of Wages: Theory And Evidence From Britain," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 120-151, February.
    9. Christian Dustmann & Tommaso Frattini & Ian P. Preston, 2013. "The Effect of Immigration along the Distribution of Wages," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(1), pages 145-173.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Brexit referendum; European Union.;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

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