Scoring for Remain: The Political Impact of Premier League on the Brexit Referendum
Diego Fuenzalida F.
Tesis, Magíster en Economía, IE-PUC, 2020
Abstract: This paper explores the role of emotions driven by sports as political drivers. To do so, I study whether the nationality compositions, player performance, and geographic distribution of the fan base of Premier League teams on the eve of the Brexit referendum. I find that increases in the relative performance of foreign players in the 2015-16 season produces economic and statistically significant increases in the Remain vote share by approximately 1 percentage point at the district level. I do not find evidence that the relative number of foreign players explains
cross-district differences in voting. I also find that expectations are important and that the effects on voter preferences seem to display persistence over time. I confirm that these results are causal by implementing a series of falsification and robustness checks. This set of results implies that voter’s priors about immigrants change not by considering exposure to foreign players (an extensive margin effect) but rather by considering their relative performance (an intensive margin effect).