UROP Project

Brexit - Who voted "leave" and why? A regional empirical analysis of socioeconomic factors influencing the outcome of the 2016 EU-Referendum in the UK



Jan Müller

Program Director UROP


+49 241 80-90299


Key Info

Basic Information

Project Offer-Number:
Keine eindeutige Zuordnung
Organisation unit:
International Economics
Language Skills:
A good command of English is sufficient.
Computer Skills:
Computer software affinity is required. Prior knowledge of a GIS-software (such as ArcGIS or QGIS) or of an econometric software (such as STATA, R, SPSS, Eviews…) is an asset but can also be learned during the project.
Prof. Dr. Oliver Lorz


In June 2016, a slight majority of the UK citizens entitled to vote decided that they do not want the UK to be part of the EU anymore and voted in favor of the so called Brexit. What the outcome of the EU-Referendum has in common with other anti-European tendencies all over the continent is the striking heterogeneity among the citizens’ attitude towards European integration. In the constituency of the City of London about three-quarter voted “stay”, whereas about two-thirds of the people in the West Midlands of England voted for “leave”. Although voting behavior is highly individual, this nevertheless raises the question about the regional socioeconomic factors that may have influenced the outcome of the referendum.


The aim of this project is to empirically analyze a potential correlation (or maybe even causality) between socioeconomic factors – such as GDP, unemployment rate or the composition of the industry – and the outcome of the EU-Referendum on a constituency level. In a first step, relevant literature on the relationship between socioeconomic factors and political outcomes in general should be briefly analyzed to identify potentially important factors. Secondly, publicly available data on the outcome of the referendum and the socioeconomic factors on a constituency level should be gathered and visualized using GIS software. In a last step, the data should be analyzed empirically using statistical software packages and conclusions should be drawn in order to answer the research question of the project.


You should be interested in current topics of political economics or political science in general. Moreover, a general understanding of basic economic concepts is necessary, but deeper knowledge in the particular research field can also be obtained during the project period. Further, a deep interest in learning new software and improving analytical skills as well as willingness to develop own ideas are very helpful.