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Was Brexit Triggered by the Old and Unhappy? Or by Financial Feelings?

Author

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  • Liberini, Federica
  • Oswald, Andrew
  • 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 & Proto, Eugenio & Redoano, Michela, 2019. "Was Brexit Triggered by the Old and Unhappy? Or by Financial Feelings?," CEPR Discussion Papers 13439, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13439
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Rita Faria’s journal round-up for 13th May 2019
      by Rita Faria in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2019-05-13 11:00:26

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    Cited by:

    1. Blackaby, David H. & Drinkwater, Stephen & Robinson, Catherine, 2020. "Regional Variations in the Brexit Vote: Causes and Potential Consequences," IZA Discussion Papers 13579, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Alex Bryson & Andrew E. Clark & Colin P. Green, 2021. "Footsie, Yeah! Share Prices and Worker Wellbeing," DoQSS Working Papers 21-26, Quantitative Social Science - UCL Social Research Institute, University College London.
    3. Dimitris Georgarakos & Konstantinos Tatsiramos, 2019. "Monetary policy transmission to consumer financial stress and durable consumption," CESifo Working Paper Series 7671, CESifo.
    4. O'Connor, Kelsey J., 2020. "The effect of immigration on natives’ well-being in the European Union," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 180(C), pages 257-274.
    5. Amory Gethin & Clara Martínez-Toledano & Thomas Piketty, 2021. "Brahmin Left versus Merchant Right: Changing Political Cleavages in 21 Western Democracies, 1948-2020," World Inequality Lab Working Papers halshs-03226118, HAL.
    6. Deole, Sumit S. & Huang, Yue, 2021. "Suffering and prejudice: Do negative emotions predict immigration concerns?," GLO Discussion Paper Series 644 [rev.], Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    7. Drinkwater, Stephen & Jennings, Colin, 2021. "The Brexit Referendum and Three Types of Regret," IZA Discussion Papers 14589, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Pawel Dlotko & Lucy Minford & Simon Rudkin & Wanling Qiu, 2019. "An Economic Topology of the Brexit vote," Papers 1909.03490, arXiv.org, revised Dec 2021.
    9. Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina & Romiti, Agnese, 2021. "International Student Applications in the United Kingdom after Brexit," IZA Discussion Papers 14247, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

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

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