Sectoral regional dependence and the Brexit Vote: A case study of the British Automotive Industry

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The British referendum in June 2016 on whether to remain or leave the European Union initiated an unprecedented process of trade disintegration. Leaving the Union raised numerous questions, including the consequences for the British economy. The present study was devoted to an in-depth analysis of the British automotive industry as an exemplary case study for regional and sectoral Brexit-related vulnerabilities. The objective of the study was to examine to what extent this sector might be exposed to the possible effects arising from the withdrawal. In addition, the question was raised if the electorate might have voted against their own economic interests, i.e. the continued success of the automotive industry. Drawing upon a literature review, comprised of qualitative and quantitative studies, sufficient evidence could be gathered to suggest that the automotive sector exhibits a potentially increased vulnerability to Brexit-related impacts. Conducting a multivariate regression to determine the potential influence of automotive employment on the Leave vote did not yield statistically significant evidence. Consequently, the voters presumably did not vote against their own economic interests. Yet at the same time, there was no statistical evidence found that they voted in favour of their economic interests either.
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