‘Deprivation and the electoral geography of Brexit’ - Economics Research Seminar

Economics Research Seminar Robert C Jump from Greenwich University Thursday 28th November 3pm – 5pm Great Hall Room 018

Title:

‘Deprivation and the electoral geography of Brexit’

Abstract:

Several narratives have emerged to explain Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.  One of the most popular in the media and public discourse is the importance of relatively deprived parts of the country that overwhelmingly voted to leave the European Union.  Despite the popularity of this narrative, however, there is remarkably little evidence that more deprived places were in fact more likely to vote Leave.  In this paper we examine the association between geographic deprivation, measured by the Index of Multiple Deprivation, and Leave vote shares in a subset of English wards.  Using rank correlation methods, including a novel optimisation approach, we demonstrate that geographic deprivation is positively associated with Leave voting.  However, the correlation is not strong, and the most important domain of deprivation is educational deprivation.  Moreover, the association between deprivation and Leave voting disappears once higher educational attainment or occupational composition are controlled for.  We consider the implications for the “left behind” narrative.

Bio:

I am a research fellow at the University of Greenwich, based in the Institute of Political Economy, Governance, Finance and Accountability.  I am a member of Reteaching Economics and an associate editor at the Review of Social Economy. 

Most of my work is on macroeconomics and public policy.  I am particularly interested in the sources of economic instability, including financial cycles, self-fulfilling expectations and hysteresis, and institutional changes that might mitigate their effects.  More recently I have been working on questions in political and economic geography, in particular the electoral geography of Brexit.