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Brexit wasn’t triggered by the old and unhappy

15 April 2019

Research conducted by Professor Eugenio Proto, the University of Warwick and ETH Zurich reveals that those who described themselves as 'finding it very difficult' were 13 percent more likely to vote for Brexit than those ‘living comfortably’.

The paper, due to be published in the Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organization, analyses patterns in the views of 8,000 citizens on the days and weeks running up to the referendum.

Professor Eugenio Proto, from the Department of Economics at the University of Bristol, said: "Our research suggests Brexit was not caused by the attitudes of older people, despite this being a commonly held belief.  Only the very young were disproportionately pro-Remain. 

"Our insights show there was little difference between being aged 35, 55 or 75.  This was not what we had expected to observe in the data. 

"Instead, people’s feelings about their finances – rather than their actual income - were shown to be the strongest predictor of their views on Brexit.

"This is an important message for economists and political scientists, stressing once more how the bad feelings created after crisis austerity policies, and spread via the media and social media, have sparked the current wave of populism, and how important it is to take into account human feelings along with material factors."

The research was featured by multiple news outlets, such as Yahoo, The Metro and the Western Daily Press.

Read the full press release on our central news page

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