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Who Voted for Brexit? Individual and Regional Data Combined

Author

Listed:
  • Alabrese, Eleonora
  • Becker, Sascha O.
  • Fetzer, Thiemo
  • Novy, Dennis

Abstract

Previous analyses of the 2016 Brexit referendum used region-level data or small samples based on polling data. The former might be subject to ecological fallacy and the latter might suffer from small-sample bias. We use individual-level data on thousands of respondents in Understanding Society, the UK's largest household survey, which includes the EU referendum question. We find that voting Leave is associated with older age, white ethnicity, low educational attainment, infrequent use of smartphones and the internet, receiving benefits, adverse health and low life satisfaction. These results coincide with corresponding patterns at the aggregate level of voting areas. We therefore do not find evidence of ecological fallacy. In addition, we show that prediction accuracy is geographically heterogeneous across UK regions, with strongly pro-Leave and strongly pro-Remain areas easier to predict. We also show that among individuals with similar socio-economic characteristics, Labour supporters are more likely to support Remain while Conservative supporters are more likely to support Leave.

Suggested Citation

  • Alabrese, Eleonora & Becker, Sascha O. & Fetzer, Thiemo & Novy, Dennis, 2018. "Who Voted for Brexit? Individual and Regional Data Combined," CEPR Discussion Papers 13110, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13110
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Autor & David Dorn & Gordon Hanson & Kaveh Majlesi, 2016. "Importing Political Polarization? The Electoral Consequences of Rising Trade Exposure," NBER Working Papers 22637, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Fetzer, Thiemo, 2018. "Did Austerity Cause Brexit?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 381, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    3. 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.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:112:y:2018:i:02:p:201-218_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Becker, Sascha O. & Fetzer, Thiemo, "undated". "Does Migration Cause Extreme Voting?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 306, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    6. Barone, Guglielmo & D'Ignazio, Alessio & de Blasio, Guido & Naticchioni, Paolo, 2016. "Mr. Rossi, Mr. Hu and politics. The role of immigration in shaping natives' voting behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 1-13.
    7. Sampson, Thomas, 2017. "Brexit: The Economics of International Disintegration," CEPR Discussion Papers 12301, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. 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).
    9. Thomas Sampson, 2017. "Brexit: The Economics of International Disintegration," CESifo Working Paper Series 6668, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Thomas Sampson, 2017. "Brexit: The Economics of International Disintegration," CEP Discussion Papers dp1499, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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    12. Christian Dippel & Robert Gold & Stephan Heblich, 2015. "Globalization and Its (Dis-)Content: Trade Shocks and Voting Behavior," NBER Working Papers 21812, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Sampson, Thomas, 2017. "Brexit: the economics of international disintegration," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86591, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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    15. Michael Bratton & Mwangi S. Kimenyi, 2008. "Voting in Kenya: Putting Ethnicity in Perspective," Working papers 2008-09, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    16. Monica Langella & Alan Manning, 2016. "Who voted Leave?," CentrePiece - The Magazine for Economic Performance 479, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Cipullo, Davide & Reslow, André, 2019. "Biased Forecasts to Affect Voting Decisions? The Brexit Case," Working Paper Series 364, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
    2. Fernanda L. Lopez de Leon & Markus Bindemann, 2019. "Social Effects of the Vote of the Majority: A Field-Experiment on the Brexit-Vote," Studies in Economics 1905, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    3. Eleonora Alabrese & Thiemo René Fetzer, 2018. "Who is NOT Voting for Brexit Anymore?," CESifo Working Paper Series 7389, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Fetzer, Thiemo, 2018. "Did Austerity Cause Brexit?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 381, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    5. repec:eee:jeborg:v:161:y:2019:i:c:p:287-302 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Aidt, T. & Grey, F. & Savu, A., 2019. "The Three Meaningful Votes: Voting on Brexit in the British House of Commons," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1979, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    aggregation; Ecological Fallacy; European Union; populism; Referendum; UK;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-
    • R20 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - General
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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