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Did the Presence of Immigrants Affect Vote Outcome in the UK Brexit Referendum ?


  • Hisahiro Naito and Mizuho Asai


This paper examines the effect of the presence of immigrants on the voters' behavior using the data set of the UK popular referendum on exit from the European Union and the survey data on individual tolerance toward immigrants. We apply two stage least square(2SLS) estimation to control the endogeneity of the ratio of immigrants by using the information on past industrial composition to construct the instrumental variable while including the current industry composition and the current demographic characteristics as a control variable. Contrary to popular media content, we do not find a statistically significant evidence that the ratio of immigrants in each electoral area does affect the vote count on Brexit after controlling endogeneity of the ratio of immigrants in each electoral area and other observable characteristics. We also show that the survey result on the tolerance to immigrants is consistent with the estimation result of voters' behavior.

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  • Hisahiro Naito and Mizuho Asai, 2018. "Did the Presence of Immigrants Affect Vote Outcome in the UK Brexit Referendum ?," Tsukuba Economics Working Papers 2018-003, Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba.
  • Handle: RePEc:tsu:tewpjp:2018-003

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    1. Otto, Alkis Henri & Steinhardt, Max Friedrich, 2014. "Immigration and election outcomes — Evidence from city districts in Hamburg," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 67-79.
    2. Becker, Sascha O. & Fetzer, Thiemo, "undated". "Does Migration Cause Extreme Voting?," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 306, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    3. Giovanni Facchini & Anna Maria Mayda & Mariapia Mendola, 2013. "What Drives Individual Attitudes towards Immigration in South Africa?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(2), pages 326-341, May.
    4. Ildefonso Mendez & Isabel Cutillas, 2014. "Has immigration affected Spanish presidential elections results?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(1), pages 135-171, January.
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