IZA DP No. 11206: Who Got the Brexit Blues? Using a Quasi-Experiment to Show the Effect of Brexit on Subjective Wellbeing in the UK
published in: Economica, 2019, 86 (343), 471-494
We use the 2015-2016 waves of the UK Household Longitudinal Study (Understanding Society) to look at subjective wellbeing around the time of the June 2016 EU membership Referendum in the UK (Brexit). We find that those reporting a preference for leaving the EU were 0.14 points less satisfied with life pre-referendum, with both misery (life satisfaction below 5) and job uncertainty significantly predicting the preference for a Leave vote. Post-referendum, those with leave preferences enjoyed a life satisfaction rise of 0.16 points, while there was a drop of 0.15 points for those preferring to remain. The initial positive subjective wellbeing effect of the Brexit vote was particularly pronounced for male and older respondents who reported a preference for leaving the EU. However, adaptation to the Brexit result appears to be complete three months after the EU Referendum date, both for those who preferred continued EU membership and those who did not.