Did Austerity Cause Brexit?
- American Economic Review (Forthcoming)
This paper documents a significant association between the exposure of an
individual or area to the UK government’s austerity-induced welfare reforms
begun in 2010, and the following: the subsequent rise in support for the UK
Independence Party, an important correlate of Leave support in the 2016 UK
referendum on European Union membership; broader individual-level measures
of political dissatisfaction; and direct measures of support for Leave.
Leveraging data from all UK electoral contests since 2000, along with detailed,
individual-level panel data, the findings suggest that the EU referendum could
have resulted in a Remain victory had it not been for austerity.
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