July 2021

IZA DP No. 14589: The Brexit Referendum and Three Types of Regret

forthcoming in: Public Choice, 2022

In this paper we examine three forms of regret in relation to the UK’s hugely significant referendum on EU membership that was held in June 2016. These are, (i) whether leave voters at the referendum subsequently regretted their choice (in the light of the result), (ii) whether non-voters regretted their decisions not to vote (remain) and (iii) whether individuals were more likely to indicate that it is everyone’s duty to vote following the referendum. We find evidence in favour of all three types of regret. In particular, leave voters and non-voters were significantly more likely to indicate that they would vote remain given their chance to do so again and there was a significant increase in the probability of an individual stating that it was everyone’s duty to vote in a general election in 2017 compared to 2015.