There were few difference across the political spectrum as to why voters voted to Remain or Leave. This is according to Lord Ashcroft’s survey on referendum day of over 12,000 voters.
Labour and Tory voters voted to leave to regain control over immigration and sovereignty.
Labour and Tory voters who wanted to remain thought the EU and its single market was a good deal not worth putting at risk. It is all about identity politics, not inequality.
Vote Leave voters are a grumpy lot who think things have been getting worse for 30 years:
Leavers see more threats than opportunities to their standard of living from the way the economy and society are changing, by 71% to 29% – more than twice the margin among remainers…
By large majorities, voters who saw multiculturalism, feminism, the Green movement, globalisation and immigration as forces for good voted to remain in the EU; those who saw them as a force for ill voted by even larger majorities to leave.
What did Australia do wrong to have the worst ranking of the high income countries for doing business across borders. New Zealand is not much better. The British are not benefiting as much as they could from the common market. Being in continental Europe must have advantages except if your Germany.
Massimo Tavoni and Caterina Gennaioli published a nice paper showing that corruption and violence was higher in the high wind provinces of Italy after the installation of wind generators. They built on earlier work about countries with abundant renewable resources and weak institutions. The main question in their paper
… is whether an increase in the expected returns of investments in wind energy, following the introduction of the new policy regime based on a green certificate system, has driven economic agents, namely bureaucrats and entrepreneurs, to engage more in rent seeking activities.
As they studied Italy, there is no surprise about the answer which was yes. High winds ensure high returns of the wind farm investment, but whether this translates into more bribery depends on institutional quality. There was more corruption, and so especially in high-wind provinces of Italy.
The construction of an average wind park is associated with an increase of criminal association activity of 6%. Italy will have more corruption than elsewhere in the old European Union.
The wider problem is renewable energy is a celebrity technology. In the context of expressive politics, so many cheer for solar and wind power that standards drop in terms of who qualifies for subsidies and who should lose support when their investments do not turn out as promised.
Wind power is not new, it is intermittent, is unsuitable for modern work, and is land constrained but it is still subsidised. Green rent seeking is a real risk even in countries with the best political institutions.