Economic Conditions, Economic Perceptions, and Public Support for European Integration

Economic Conditions, Economic Perceptions, and Public Support for European Integration Political Behavior, Vol. 19, No. 1, 1997 ECONOMIC CONDITIONS, ECONOMIC PERCEPTIONS, AND PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR EUROPEAN INTEGRATION* Matthew Gabel and Guy D. Whitten Public attitudes play an important—sometimes crucial—role in the process of European integration. This is evident from the two most recent attempts at institutional and geographical reform of the European Union (EU). In a June 1992 referendum, the Danish public effectively halted the further institu- tional and economic integration of Europe by rejecting the Treaty on Euro- pean Union. Two years later, Norwegian voters chose to reject membership in the EU. Less obviously, but more regularly, public attitudes influence EU policymaking through traditional political channels such as elections and lobbying. How do Europeans structure their attitudes toward integration? Given that economic growth and development are both central motivations for integra- tion and among the predominant responsibilities of the European Union (EU), it seems reasonable that the EU public would evaluate integration based upon economic criteria. Previous studies have investigated this hypoth- esis in two ways. First, Gabel and Palmer (1995) investigated how the differ- ential economic benefits of integrative policy relate to individual-level differ- ences in public support for integration. They found that EU citizens' support for Political Behavior Springer Journals

Economic Conditions, Economic Perceptions, and Public Support for European Integration

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Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
Copyright © 1997 by Plenum Publishing Corporation
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science; Sociology, general
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