Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Note on the EU referendum, ex post

The EU referendum has been interpreted as showing a nation divided by age (older people more likely to have voted Brexit), or possibly affluence, or alternatively geography (as in: Scotland and London more likely to have voted Remain). But plenty of older people voted Remain, likewise there was no clear consensus either way in any geographical region. Maybe we’re actually a nation divided by social networks: people seem to have voted the same way that “everyone” they knew voted. We all exist in social micro-environments, and in the case of academia, they are further subdivided into what might be called nano-environments. I may be biased towards the social-networks story, having dabbled in the associated theoretical problems that have been considered in the Computer Science theory literature. Perhaps the UK’s social network has not one, but two, giant components. If so, that has implications for social mobility. It may be felt that one of them is more effective than the other, when it comes to creating career opportunities for its members.

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