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Overcoming History through International Organizations - Historical Roots of EU Support and Euroscepticism

Kai Gehring

No 7831, CESifo Working Paper Series from CESifo

Abstract: There is little causal evidence about deep-rooted sources of support for shifting power from nation-states to international organizations. Focusing on the European Union, this paper develops the hypothesis that citizens appreciate the role of international organizations in constraining member-states the more, the more negatively their region was historically affected by the actions of nation-states. For identification, I use the historically homogeneous regions of Alsace and Lorraine in France as a natural experiment. A municipal level geographical regression discontinuity design documents that more negative exposure led to persistently higher EU support in three important referenda and less success of Eurosceptic parties in parliamentary elections. This effect is not driven by linguistic differences, migration, socio-economic factors or public good provision, but linked to a stronger European identity. This stronger identity is neither explained by perceived economic benefits, nor comes at the expense of a weaker national or regional identity.

Keywords: international organizations; nation-states; repression; persistence; group identity; European Union support; Euroscepticism; European identity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D70 F50 H70 N24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm and nep-his
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