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Who Voted for Brexit? A Comprehensive District-Level Analysis

Author

Listed:
  • Becker, Sascha O.

    (University of Warwick)

  • Fetzer, Thiemo

    (University of Warwick)

  • Novy, Dennis

    (University of Warwick)

Abstract

On 23 June 2016, the British electorate voted to leave the European Union. We analyze vote and turnout shares across 380 local authority areas in the United Kingdom. We find that fundamental characteristics of the voting population were key drivers of the Vote Leave share, in particular their age and education profiles as well as the historical importance of manufacturing employment, low income and high unemployment. Migration was relevant only from Eastern European countries, not from older EU states or non-EU countries. We also find an important role for fiscal cuts being associated with Vote Leave. Our results indicate that modest reductions in fiscal cuts could have swayed the referendum outcome. In contrast, even drastic changes in immigration patterns would probably not have made a difference. We confirm the above findings at the much finer level of wards within cities. Our results cast doubt on the notion that short-term campaigning events had a meaningful influence on the vote.

Suggested Citation

  • Becker, Sascha O. & Fetzer, Thiemo & Novy, Dennis, 2016. "Who Voted for Brexit? A Comprehensive District-Level Analysis," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 305, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:305
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sascha O. Becker & Peter H. Egger & Maximilian von Ehrlich, 2013. "Absorptive Capacity and the Growth and Investment Effects of Regional Transfers: A Regression Discontinuity Design with Heterogeneous Treatment Effects," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 29-77, November.
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    Keywords

    JEL Classification: Political Economy; Voting; Migration; Austerity; Globalisation; UK; EU;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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