Regional Resources and Democratic Secessionism
ETH Zurich CIS Working Paper No. 90
90 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2016 Last revised: 21 Sep 2017
Date Written: February 21, 2017
We argue that region-specific resources are crucial to understanding the success of democratic secessionist movements. Exploiting oil discoveries off the Scottish coast as a natural experiment, we estimate the causal effect of regional resources in a difference-in-differences design with Wales as the counterfactual. Using election results at the constituency level from 1945 to 2001, we show that each additional giant oil discovery has a significant positive effect on the Scottish National Party’s vote share of about 2 percentage points. A triple-differences design using changes in world oil prices as additional exogenous variation supports the causal interpretation of this finding.
Keywords: Secession, Separatism, Size of Nations, Resources, Nationalism, Economic Voting
JEL Classification: H77, N9
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation