What Sort of Brexit Do the British People Want?

A Proof-of-Concept Study Using Stated Preference Discrete Choice Experiments

Published in: King's College London website [Epub July 2017]

Posted on RAND.org on July 13, 2017

by Charlene Rohr, Alexandra Pollitt, David Howarth, Hui Lu, Jonathan Grant

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To understand the sort of future relationship that the UK population want with the EU, we asked them to choose between different hypothetical options described by seven characteristics. Each of these characteristics ("attributes") could take several different values ("levels") in the choices presented to participants, reflecting different possible negotiating positions. By varying the characteristics of a potential deal in this way, we aimed to quantify people's preferences for different aspects of the UK's future relationship with the EU. Making trade-offs will be a key part in negotiating the UK's future relationship with the EU. The purpose of this study is to go beyond the political rhetoric, starting from the premise that compromises will have to made, and to try and understand what the British public think about these trade-offs. We go beyond the politically contested and sometimes ill-defined language of "hard" and "soft" Brexit and look at the public"s views about the detailed choices on offer. Our hope is that knowledge of where the public stand on different characteristics of the future relationship with the EU will inform those who are participating in the negotiations and give them some indication of which trade-offs are likely to satisfy the public's preferences.

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