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Eu transfers and euroscepticism: can’t buy me love?

Alessandro Borin, Elisa Macchi and Michele Mancini

No 289, ECON - Working Papers from Department of Economics - University of Zurich

Abstract: This paper investigates whether EU redistributive policies improved the public attitude toward European integration, both in terms of public opinion and in terms of political preferences. We build a new dataset combining data from the European Social Survey, different data sources for political parties’ stances and transfer records from EU institutions. We focus on the regional Cohesion Policy, within which the Convergence Objective program offers a quasi-experimental framework that allows us to single out these effects by means of a regression discontinuity approach. Results show that EU transfers have mitigated the rise of Eurosceptic attitudes and reduced the political consensus for anti- EU parties in long-time recipient regions. We estimate that increasing the regional per capita EU transfers by 1000€ over the 2000-2014 period reduces the share of Eurosceptic individuals by about 8 percentage points and voters’ support for anti-EU parties by 10 percentage points. The effects are homogeneous across different socio-economic groups, including the most disadvantaged ones. Other attitudes that are often associated with Euroscepticism (i.e. anti-trade and anti-immigration stances) are not substantially affected by EU regional transfers.

Keywords: Euroscepticism; EU transfers; EU crisis; cohesion policy; voting; regression discontinuity; redistributive politics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 F14 H11 I38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur
Date: 2018-06
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