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Did terrorism affect the Brexit vote?


  • Bove, Vincenzo

    (University of Warwick)

  • Efthyvoulou, Georgios

    (University of Sheffield)

  • Pickard, Harry

    (University of Sheffield)


We contribute to the recent research on Brexit and public opinion formation by contending that the determinants of the referendum results should be evaluated against the background of wider public security concerns. Terrorism has long been regarded as a top concern by the British public, more than in any other European country. Terrorist attacks on UK soil raised voters’ awareness of security issues and their saliency in the context of an EU referendum. We find that locations affected by terrorist violence in their proximity exhibit an increase in the share of pro-Remain votes, particularly for more sensational attacks. Using individual-level data, we show that in the aftermath of terrorist attacks, citizens are more likely to reconsider the security risks involved in leaving the EU.

Suggested Citation

  • Bove, Vincenzo & Efthyvoulou, Georgios & Pickard, Harry, 2019. "Did terrorism affect the Brexit vote?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 415, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:415

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Abel Brodeur, 2018. "The Effect of Terrorism on Employment and Consumer Sentiment: Evidence from Successful and Failed Terror Attacks," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 246-282, October.
    2. Sascha O Becker & Thiemo Fetzer & Dennis Novy, 2017. "Who voted for Brexit? A comprehensive district-level analysis," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 32(92), pages 601-650.
    3. Tak Wing Chan & Morag Henderson & Maria Sironi & Juta Kawalerowicz, 2017. "Understanding the Social and Cultural Bases of Brexit," DoQSS Working Papers 17-15, Quantitative Social Science - UCL Social Research Institute, University College London.
    4. Italo Colantone & Piero Stanig, 2016. "Global Competition and Brexit," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 1644, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    5. Bart Los & Philip McCann & John Springford & Mark Thissen, 2017. "The mismatch between local voting and the local economic consequences of Brexit," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(5), pages 786-799, May.
    6. Colantone, Italo & Stanig, Piero, 2018. "Global Competition and Brexit," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 201-218, May.
    7. Liberini, Federica & Oswald, Andrew J & Proto, Eugenio & Redoano, Michela, 2017. "Was Brexit Caused by the Unhappy and the Old?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 342, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    8. David Innes & Gemma Tetlow, 2015. "Delivering Fiscal Squeeze by Cutting Local Government Spending," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 36, pages 303-325, September.
    9. Monica Langella & Alan Manning, 2016. "Who voted Leave?," CentrePiece - The Magazine for Economic Performance 479, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    10. Harry Pickard, 2019. "A mailshot in the dark? The impact of the UK government's lea fet on the 2016 EU referendum," Working Papers 2019004, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
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    Brexit; Security; Terrorism; Voting; Referendum JEL Classification:;

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