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Intergenerational social mobility and the Brexit vote: how social origins and destinations divide Britain

McNeil, Andrew ORCID: 0000-0003-0791-9143 and Haberstroh, Charlotte ORCID: 0000-0003-2608-7864 (2023) Intergenerational social mobility and the Brexit vote: how social origins and destinations divide Britain. European Journal of Political Research, 62 (2). 612 - 632. ISSN 0304-4130

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1475-6765.12526


To explain political divisions within British society, the current scholarship highlights the importance of the ‘winners’ and ‘left-behind’ of political economic transformations. Yet, the impact of widespread absolute intergenerational social mobility in the past half century, which resulted in socio-economic gains or losses for many, has not been systematically addressed. Our paper assesses how intergenerationally mobile voters’ positions in the Brexit referendum differ from their non-mobile counterparts. We differentiate between the effects of social origins, social mobility and destination position. To do so, we model data from Understanding Society with a diagonal reference model. We show that origins are nearly as important as current socio-economic positions for predicting the probability of voting to ‘leave’ or ‘remain’ in the Brexit referendum. We find that a first-generation graduate would be up to 10 percentage points less likely to vote ‘Remain’ than a graduate whose parents also went to university.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: Government
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2022 10:42
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2023 05:12

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