The mismatch between local voting behaviour and the local economic consequences of Brexit

08-03-2017 | News item

Regions that voted to leave the European Union (EU) are more likely to feel the detrimental impact of Brexit on their economic development, as they rely more strongly on EU markets, according to a new study co-authored by PBL in Regional Studies.

Pro-leave narratives, in the run up to the referendum, reinforced the idea that the ‘metropolitan elites' of London were the major beneficiaries of the UK’s EU membership. This argument was tested, using new data from the interregional extensions to the World Input-Output Database (WIOD), to calculate the economic impact of UK regional trade structures on the domestic economic performance of UK regions.

Analysis of the data found that regions more economically dependent on EU markets generated a higher number of ‘leave’ votes (1). These regions are highly dependent on the EU for both local manufacturing and service industry supply chains (2); they are 50% to 100% more dependent on EU markets than London (3).