Explaining the Brexit Vote: A Socioeconomic and Psychological Exploration of the Referendum Vote

David Hearne, Rebecca Semmens-Wheeler, Kimberley Hill

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


The proposed book chapter will bring together regional economics and psychological perspectives in relation to Brexit, one year on from Article 50. Extending previous work (Becker, Fetzer, & Novy, 2017; Goodwin and Heath, 2016, Semmens-Wheeler & Hill, 2018) the chapter will exploit regional variations in the Brexit vote to model how well different demographic, socio-economic and other decision-making indicators predict the vote’s outcome by area. Using statistical techniques commonly employed in the literature in both economics and psychology, a focus will be on regional economics, including the role of income/economy vs demography in the vote and psychological perspectives, including the role of empathy and interpersonal reactivity, social dominance orientation, collective self-esteem and modern racial prejudice, among other factors. Drawing on the broader literature, the chapter will consider the potential economic and psychological factors lying behind the results, suggesting possible reasons for regional/demographic variations and areas where further research might be required. An investigation of the literature will discuss developments in these areas to date, as well as provide an overview of research focusing on public perceptions and prospects going forward. This cross-disciplinary chapter will continue to contribute to the growing picture forming around UK’s decision to leave the EU, one year on from Article 50, while providing an insight into the important economic and psychological processes behind Brexit.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBrexit Negotiations after article 50: Assessing Process, Progress and Impact
EditorsAlex Ruyter, Beverly Nielson
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherEmerald Publishing
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781787697652
ISBN (Print)9781787697683
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2019

Publication series

NameBrexit Negotiations After Article 50: Assessing Process, Progress and Impact


  • Economics
  • Psychology
  • Brexit


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