Will Brexit Age Well? Cohorts, Seasoning and the Age-Leave Gradient, Past, Present and Future

36 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2018

See all articles by Barry Eichengreen

Barry Eichengreen

University of California, Berkeley; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Rebecca Mari

Bocconi University

Gregory Thwaites

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2018

Abstract

In the UK’s 2016 referendum on EU membership, young voters were more likely than their elders to vote Remain. Applying new methods to a half century of data, we show that this pattern reflects both ageing and cohort effects. Although voters become more Eurosceptical as they age, recent cohorts are also more pro-European than their predecessors. Much of the pro-Europeanism of these recent cohorts is accounted for by their greater years of education. Going forward, the ageing of the electorate will thus be offset at least in part by the replacement of older cohorts with younger, better-educated and more pro-European ones. But we also document large nationwide swings in sentiment that have little to do with either seasoning or cohort effects. Hence these demographic trends are unlikely to be the decisive determinants of future changes in European sentiment. Rather, nationwide changes in sentiment, reflecting macroeconomic or other conditions, and the age-turnout gradient will be key.

Keywords: Brexit, voting, demographics, APC effects, age period cohort effects

Suggested Citation

Eichengreen, Barry and Mari, Rebecca and Thwaites, Gregory, Will Brexit Age Well? Cohorts, Seasoning and the Age-Leave Gradient, Past, Present and Future (October 2018). BAFFI CAREFIN Centre Research Paper No. 2018-94. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3280314 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3280314

Barry Eichengreen

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Rebecca Mari (Contact Author)

Bocconi University

Via Sarfatti, 25
Milan, 20136
Italy

Gregory Thwaites

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics ( email )

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