Brexit and British Business Elites: Business Power and Noisy Politics

Magnus Feldmann*, Glenn D Morgan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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This article analyzes business power in the context of noisy politics by comparing business involvement in the two British referendum campaigns about membership in the European Community in 1975 and the Brexit referendum about European Union membership in 2016. By exploring these two contexts, the paper seeks to identify the conditions under which business elites can and cannot be effective in conditions of noisy politics. We identify three key factors; the incentives to get directly involved during times of noisy politics, the legitimacy of business involvement, and finally the capacity to act in a cohesive way as determinants of business influence during periods of noisy politics. We argue that these factors have changed substantially over the last four decades due to wider changes in the nature of capitalism, and we discuss their impact on business power in the UK and more widely.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-131
Number of pages25
JournalPolitics & Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2021


  • Business power
  • business elites
  • noisy politics
  • United Kingdom
  • Brexit

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