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Was Brexit Caused by the Unhappy and the Old?

Author

Listed:
  • Liberini, Federica

    () (ETH Zurich)

  • Oswald, Andrew J.

    () (University of Warwick)

  • Proto, Eugenio

    () (University of Warwick)

  • Redoano, Michela

    () (University of Warwick)

Abstract

On 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union (so-called 'Brexit'). This paper uses newly released information, from the Understanding Society data set, to examine the characteristics of individuals who were for and against Brexit. Two key findings emerge. First, unhappy feelings contributed to Brexit. However, contrary to commonly heard views, the key channel of influence was not through general dissatisfaction with life. It was through a person's narrow feelings about his or her own financial situation. Second, despite some commentators' guesses, Brexit was not caused by old people. Only the very young were substantially pro-Remain.

Suggested Citation

  • Liberini, Federica & Oswald, Andrew J. & Proto, Eugenio & Redoano, Michela, 2017. "Was Brexit Caused by the Unhappy and the Old?," IZA Discussion Papers 11059, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11059
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Liberini, Federica & Redoano, Michela & Proto, Eugenio, 2017. "Happy voters," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 41-57.
    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. repec:eee:ejores:v:263:y:2017:i:3:p:1019-1032 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Oswald, Andrew J. & Wu, Stephen, 2010. "Objective Confirmation of Subjective Measures of Human Well-being: Evidence from the USA," IZA Discussion Papers 4695, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Hobolt, Sara B. & de Vries, Catherine E., 2016. "Turning against the union? The impact of the crisis on the Eurosceptic vote in the 2014 European Parliament elections," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 66831, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Ginsburgh, Victor & Moreno-Ternero, Juan D. & Weber, Shlomo, 2017. "Ranking languages in the European Union: Before and after Brexit," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 139-151.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Becker, Sascha O. & Fetzer, Thiemo, 2018. "Why an EU Referendum? Why in 2016?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 366, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    2. Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Plagnol, Anke C. & Frijters, Paul & Clark, Andrew E., 2017. "Who Got the Brexit Blues? Using a Quasi-Experiment to Show the Effect of Brexit on Subjective Wellbeing in the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 11206, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Brexit; European Union; referendum; voting;

    JEL classification:

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

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