On the Causes of Brexit

35 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2016

See all articles by Agust Arnorsson

Agust Arnorsson

University of Iceland

Gylfi Zoega

University of Iceland; University of London - Birkbeck College; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: August 23, 2016


We analyse the voting pattern in the June 23rd referendum on the continued participation of the United Kingdom in the European Union and evaluate the reasons for the results. We find that regions where GDP per capita is low, a high proportion of people have low education, a high proportion is over the age of 65 and there is strong net immigration are more likely to be apprehensive of the E.U., consider the enlargement of the E.U. as having gone too far, be suspicious of immigrants and not want them as neighbours and, most importantly, to vote for Brexit. The fear of immigration does not seem to be fully justified in terms of the literature on the labour market effects of immigrants in the UK. Looking at the response of the sterling exchange to poll numbers we find that investors appear to view Brexit as a negative event.

Keywords: Brexit referendum, European Union

JEL Classification: E240, J600

Suggested Citation

Arnorsson, Agust and Zoega, Gylfi, On the Causes of Brexit (August 23, 2016). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6056, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2851396

Agust Arnorsson

University of Iceland ( email )


Gylfi Zoega (Contact Author)

University of Iceland ( email )

IS-101 Reykjavik

University of London - Birkbeck College ( email )

Malet Street
London, WC1E 7HX
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

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