Identity and Public Support for North American Integration

30 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2010 Last revised: 8 Apr 2010

See all articles by Constantine Boussalis

Constantine Boussalis

Claremont Colleges - Claremont Graduate University

Jennifer L. Merolla

University of California, Riverside (UCR)

Caryn Peiffer

Developmental Leadership Program

Date Written: March 22, 2010

Abstract

The majority of studies investigating the determinants of public support for international economic and political integration have primarily focused on citizen attitudes in European Union member-states and candidate countries. This body of research has found, by and large, that the intensity of an individual’s sense of national and supranational identity has an effect on levels of support for the European Union. Yet, these studies were also conducted at a time when European integration was tangible and when a larger European identity was already generally salient. We seek to expand the debate on the role of identity in support for integrative policies by examining attitudes on integration in North America - a region with a much less salient sense of supranationalism and a far less extensive integration project. In addition to providing a comparative perspective to the identity-support question, this paper further contributes to the present literature by investigating whether or not the priming of such locality-based identities result in increased or decreased support for integration. Results from an estimation of World Values Survey data for all three North American countries, as well as an original experimental study conducted in the US and Mexico, lend support to the argument that national and supranational identity plays a role in citizen attitudes toward integration. In addition, while we find considerable support for the hypothesis that manipulating the salience of these identities impacts individual support for integration, we also uncover clear cross-national differences in North American attitudes and offer our thoughts on why these differences might exist.

Keywords: Public opinion, economic integration, NAFTA

Suggested Citation

Boussalis, Constantine and Merolla, Jennifer L. and Peiffer, Caryn, Identity and Public Support for North American Integration (March 22, 2010). Western Political Science Association 2010 Annual Meeting Paper , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1580955

Constantine Boussalis (Contact Author)

Claremont Colleges - Claremont Graduate University ( email )

150 E. Tenth Street
Claremont, CA 91711
United States

Jennifer L. Merolla

University of California, Riverside (UCR) ( email )

Caryn Peiffer

Developmental Leadership Program ( email )

Edgbaston
Birmingham, B15 2TT
United Kingdom

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