Determinants of Voting Choice in Brexit Referendum

Comparative Politics
International Relations
European Politics
Voting Behaviors
Public Opinion

Park, Sanghoon and Youngdeuk Park. 2016. “Determinants of Voting Choice in Brexit Referendum.” The Korean Journal of Area Studies 34(3): 481–505.


Political Science, Univeristy of South Carolina

Political Science, Chungnam National University, ROK


August 2016


This paper aims to explain why some british voters choose to exit from the European Union. Focusing on opportunities and threats presented by the integration of European labour market, we examine the reason behind remain’ and exit’ choices of British voters from the European Union. We argue that skill level of individuals matters since european labor market integration provides different incentive structure to laborers. European labor market integration pushes low-skilled laborers to harsher job competition with those of other EU member countries. Because inflow of low-skilled laborers to more affluent countries consists of those who are from the less developed countries, laborers with the lowest skill level living in affluent countries such as the UK face threats from the european integration. Using International Social Survey Programme 2013 module National Identity, we find that the lowest skill level has significant impact on voting choice: whether remain or exit from EU. This result of statistical analysis implies that some voters in the UK voted for exit because they believed that they don’t benefit from european integration, not because they are too ignorant or poorly educated to support european integration—exit voters are rational rather than ignorant.

BibTeX citation

    Author = {Sanghoon Park and Youngdeuk Park},
    Journal = {The Korean Journal of Area Studies},,
    Number = {3},
    Pages = {1--31},
    Title = {Determinants of Voting Choice in Brexit Referendum},
    Volume = {34},
    Year = {2016}}