The UK Referendum on Membership of the European Union as a Trigger Event for Hate Crimes
19 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2018
Date Written: February 5, 2018
Following the UK's referendum on membership of the European Union, the possibility that the referendum led to an increase in hate crimes dominated national debate. This paper studies this by applying time series intervention models to daily data covering two years and monthly data covering four years. The results show that the referendum led to a significant increase in hate crimes equivalent to the Manchester and London terror attacks, controlling for other interventions and the salience of immigration. Using additional analysis of public opinion and media coverage around the referendum, the paper then disentangles the causal mechanism linking the referendum to the increase in hate crimes, showing that pre-event 'inflammatory rhetoric' likely drove the link between the two. Aside from these important empirical findings, the paper contributes to both the literature on the effects of media coverage in driving prejudicial views and to the literature linking political events with hate crimes.
Keywords: Brexit, Hate Crimes, Referendum, Time Series
JEL Classification: Y8
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation