The Brexit Referendum and Three Types of Regret

Stephen Drinkwater, Colin Jennings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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. They 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 to abstain (essentially supporting ‘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 favor of all three types of regret. In particular, leave voters and non-voters were significantly more likely to indicate that they would vote to remain given a chance to do so again; moreover, the probability of an individual stating that it was everyone’s duty to vote in a general election increased significantly in 2017 (compared to 2015). The implications of the findings are discussed in the context of the referendum’s outcome.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-291
Number of pages17
JournalPublic Choice
Issue number3-4
Early online date16 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2022


  • Article
  • Brexit
  • D70
  • D72
  • EU Referendum
  • F60
  • Non-voters
  • Regret
  • Voting

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