International Small Business Journal: Researching Entrepreneurship. Volume 0 : Issue ahead of print.

Given the anticipated negative impact of Brexit on the U.K. economy, it might be expected that self-employed individuals would have favoured remaining in the European Union. However, the self-employed are also more likely to have certain demographic characteristics that are associated with voting leave in the 2016 referendum. We investigate such potentially offsetting influences using nationally representative survey data and find that self-employed men were more, and women less, likely to be leave voters compared to the paid-employed. The differences were statistically significant for men but a Gelbach decomposition reveals that they can largely be explained by characteristics, specifically age and education. Our findings, especially for self-employed men, are discussed within the context of the important economic consequences that Brexit continues to have on small businesses in the United Kingdom as well as the need for further evidence on the voting behaviour of the self-employed.