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Austerity caused Brexit, say Warwick academics

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Austerity, rather than immigration, was the main reason people voted Leave in the EU referendum in June, according to a paper published by academics from Warwick’s Economics department.

A small reduction in government cuts could have swung the referendum result, the paper suggests, while a comparatively large reduction in immigration levels would have been required to have the same effect.

The report, entitled ‘Who Voted for Brexit? A Comprehensive District-Level Analysis’, claims that “fundamental characteristics of the voting population” were more responsible for the Leave vote than short-term campaigning.

These fundamental characteristics were identified as age and education level of voters, as well as the impact of fiscal cuts under the last government’s austerity measures. Migration was also significant, but “only from Eastern European countries, not from older EU states or non-EU countries.”

A small reduction in government cuts could have swung the referendum result, the paper suggests, while a comparatively large reduction in immigration levels would have been required to have the same effect.

The report has been touted by left-wing news website The Canary as revealing “the real reason for Brexit”. However the mainstream media, according to The Canary, has ignored the report’s findings.

But the authors of the report told the Boar: “We have not actively promoted the paper as yet. So it is a bit early to say how the media have responded.”

The authors also state that “back-of-the-envelope calculations” were used to reach the conclusion that a reduction in austerity would have done more to swing the vote than a reduction in immigration.

“We do not attempt to make causative claims,” they said, “and carefully try to explain in our paper what statements we think our data can support and why.”

The paper was written by Sascha O. Becker, Thiemo Fetzer and Dennis Novy and can be read here.

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Comments (1)

  • The real reason was that Remain was limited to a population of selfish people, Floateurs, who believe that they should have the ability to float off anywhere when things get tough. It was these mobile upper classes who made this referendum a close run thing.

    Perhaps shaming them into realising that if settled people did not create stable societies that are vaguely pleasant they would be unable to be mobile because there would be no safe home to return to.

    The EU Referendum was Floateurs versus Settlers. It would cost very little to ensure that sixth forms teach students that they owe a great deal to their own society. and that academics are selfish, vain people who should not be used as a role model.

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