Who Voted for Brexit? Individual and Regional Data Combined

39 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2018

See all articles by Eleonora Alabrese

Eleonora Alabrese

University of Warwick, Students

Sascha O. Becker

Monash University - Department of Economics; University of Warwick

Thiemo Fetzer

University of Warwick; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Dennis Novy

University of Warwick - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Centre for Economic Performance (CEP); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 23, 2018

Abstract

Previous analyses of the 2016 Brexit referendum used region-level data or small samples based on polling data. The former might be subject to ecological fallacy and the latter might suffer from small-sample bias. We use individual-level data on thousands of respondents in Understanding Society, the UK’s largest household survey, which includes the EU referendum question. We find that voting Leave is associated with older age, white ethnicity, low educational attainment, infrequent use of smartphones and the internet, receiving benefits, adverse health and low life satisfaction. These results coincide with corresponding patterns at the aggregate level of voting areas. We therefore do not find evidence of ecological fallacy. In addition, we show that prediction accuracy is geographically heterogeneous across UK regions, with strongly pro-Leave and strongly pro-Remain areas easier to predict. We also show that among individuals with similar socioeconomic characteristics, Labour supporters are more likely to support Remain while Conservative supporters are more likely to support Leave.

Keywords: aggregation, ecological fallacy, European Union, populism, referendum, UK

JEL Classification: D720, I100, N440, R200, Z130

Suggested Citation

Alabrese, Eleonora and Becker, Sascha O. and Fetzer, Thiemo and Novy, Dennis, Who Voted for Brexit? Individual and Regional Data Combined (August 23, 2018). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 7193, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3274567 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3274567

Eleonora Alabrese

University of Warwick, Students ( email )

United Kingdom

Sascha O. Becker

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3
Australia

University of Warwick ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Thiemo Fetzer

University of Warwick ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Dennis Novy (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 2476150046 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/faculty/novy/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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