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Was Brexit triggered by the old and unhappy? Or by financial feelings?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-302
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Volume161
Early online date18 Apr 2019
DOIs
DateAccepted/In press - 28 Mar 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 18 Apr 2019
DatePublished (current) - 1 May 2019

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.

    Research areas

  • Discontent, European Union, Happiness, Referendum, Satisfaction, Voting

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  • Full-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Elsevier at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2019.03.024 . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 1 MB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 18/10/20

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    Licence: CC BY-NC-ND

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