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It’s not about the money. EU funds, local opportunities, and Euroscepticism

Riccardo Crescenzi, Marco Di Cataldo () and Mara Giua

Regional Science and Urban Economics, 2020, vol. 84, issue C

Abstract: Growing Euroscepticism across the European Union (EU) leaves open questions as to what citizens expect to gain from EU Membership and what influences their dissent for EU integration. This paper looks at the EU Structural Funds, one of the largest and most visible expenditure items in the EU budget, to test their impact on electoral support for the EU. By leveraging the Referendum on Brexit held in the United Kingdom, a spatial RDD analysis offers causal evidence that EU money does not influence citizens’ support for the EU. Conversely, the analysis shows that EU funds mitigate Euroscepticism only where they are coupled with tangible improvements in local labour market conditions, the ultimate objective of this form of EU intervention. Money cannot buy love for the EU, but its capacity to generate new local opportunities certainly can.

Keywords: EU funds; Euroscepticism; Cohesion policy; Brexit; Regression discontinuity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.regsciurbeco.2020.103556

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