Preferences for International Redistribution: The Divide Over the Eurozone Bailouts

American Journal of Political Science (Forthcoming)

MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2012-5

58 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2012 Last revised: 8 Jul 2013

Michael M. Bechtel

Washington University in St. Louis

Jens Hainmueller

Stanford University - Department of Political Science; Stanford Graduate School of Business; Stanford Immigration Policy Lab

Yotam M. Margalit

Columbia University

Date Written: July 1, 2013

Abstract

Why do voters agree to bear the costs of bailing out other countries? Despite the prominence of public opinion in the ongoing debate over the eurozone bailouts, voters' preferences on the topic are poorly understood. We conduct the first systematic analysis of this issue using observational and experimental survey data from Germany, the country shouldering the largest share of the EU's financial rescue fund. Testing a range of theoretical explanations, we find that individuals' own economic standing has limited explanatory power in accounting for their position on the bailouts. In contrast, social dispositions such as altruism and cosmopolitanism robustly correlate with support for the bailouts. The results indicate that the divide in public opinion over the bailouts is not drawn along distributive lines separating domestic winners and losers. Instead, the bailout debate is better understood as a foreign policy issue that pits economic nationalist sentiments versus greater cosmopolitan affinity and other-regarding concerns.

Keywords: EU, bailouts, public opinion, political behaviour, redistribution

JEL Classification: F5, P16, F34, D72

Suggested Citation

Bechtel, Michael M. and Hainmueller, Jens and Margalit, Yotam M., Preferences for International Redistribution: The Divide Over the Eurozone Bailouts (July 1, 2013). American Journal of Political Science (Forthcoming); MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2012-5. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2032147 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2032147

Michael M. Bechtel

Washington University in St. Louis ( email )

Campus Box 1063
One Brookings Drive
Saint Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States

Jens Hainmueller (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.stanford.edu/~jhain/

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Stanford Immigration Policy Lab

30 Alta Road
Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Yotam M. Margalit

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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