CSI Newsletter February 2018

22nd February 2018

Welcome to the Centre for Social Investigation eNewsletter.


New Research

We have published several new short articles on the drivers of Brexit-related preferences.

A new briefing note, by Noah Carl, on the role of national identity showed that people who see themselves primarily as “English” were much more likely to have backed Leave in the referendum. Those who see themselves primarily as “European” were overwhelmingly likely to have backed Remain. These effects of national identity on support for Leave versus Remain persist after taking other factors into account.

We also contributed two pieces to UK in a Changing Europe’s latest report.

The first explores the theme of sovereignty by showing the degree of support for European versus national or sub-national decision-making on issues including taxation, immigration and fisheries. The results showed greater support among Remain supporters for policy decisions at the European level, particularly relating to environmental protection. However, the majority on both sides would prefer policy decisions to be made at the national level.

The second piece explores how the soft-hard Brexit distinction plays out in the minds of British people. We found two “dimensions” of sovereignty and cooperation, but that these are not exact opposites. Many people including older people and those with mid-range qualifications want both more sovereignty and cooperation whereas others, such as people with a degree, would like more cooperation but not sovereignty.


Elisabeth Garratt published a new article “Please sir, I want some more: an exploration of repeat foodbank use”.

The research, which was covered in an article in the Independent, aimed to address a key evidence gap in the scale of foodbank use which has been complicated by double counting people who visit several times. The blog post to accompany the article is here and our earlier briefing note on the topic is available on our website.


CSI also contributed to the new Runnymede Islamophobia report, published in November.

Writing with Asma Mustafa (of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies), Anthony Heath reported strong evidence that Muslims experience an additional religious penalty in the labour market over and above any ethnic penalty which they experience. Download the pdf.


We have published a new briefing note which addresses the question “Is Britain more or less socially cohesive than other countries?”

We compared social cohesion in the UK to five other countries (USA, Sweden, France, Germany, and Japan). On several aspects of social cohesion, particularly voter turnout, trust and immigration, we found that the UK is divided between the liberal elites (highly educated) and the traditional non-elites (low educated).

However, there are similar social divides on our measures of cohesion across all six countries.

The social divide on attitudes to the redistribution of income was covered in a Times Higher Education article.



For the past year CSI has been running field experiments, based on sending fictitious CVs to real employers, on ethnic discrimination in the British labour market as part of the GEMM project. The research design should allow us to compare discrimination across ethnic groups, as well as looking at various dimensions of ethnicity such as religion and cultural distance.

The data collection has now been completed, and we will be reporting first findings in the coming months.



Noah Carl presented findings on national identity and Brexit attitudes at an event in Manchester.

Lindsay Richards presented at the Quality of life and personal well-being: Research and data showcase organised by the UK Data Service and Office for National Statistics. The slides are available here.

Anthony Heath presented the British Academy Social Integration project to the Equality and Diversity Forum.

Anthony Heath gave a talk at Oxford University’s Department of Social Policy and Intervention. The talk was entitled: “How does social progress in Britain since 1950 compare with that in peer countries?”



Anthony Heath and James Laurence contributed to the British Academy “If You Could Do One Thing” programme and report. The picture shows Anthony Heath introducing the British Academy’s Social integration report at Parliament, alongside Chuka Umunna and Lord Bourne. Read the news announcement here.






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Best wishes



The Centre for Social Investigation (CSI) is based at Nuffield College, Oxford University. The Centre aims to address contemporary social issues of public interest, carrying out authoritative research on central social issues which draws upon interdisciplinary expertise in economics, politics and sociology, and related disciplines. The Centre’s research is independent and non-partisan; as such, it has no political affiliation or leaning.