European Union Funding and Sub-National Euroscepticism: Evidence From Poland
36 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2019
Date Written: May 2018
This article tests whether EU transfers make beneficiaries more or less supportive of the European project. This question is especially relevant as anti-EU are becoming more electorally competitive across Europe. The European Commission states that their funding programs aim to achieve greater social and economic cohesion among EU member states. Yet, it is puzzling that across Europe, eurosceptic attitudes are clearly evident in regions that benefit most from EU funds (Becker et al., 2017; Richards et al., 2018). We address this puzzle by dis-aggregating EU funding at the local and individual levels in the EU’s highest net-beneficiary country, Poland. Using county-level data on EU funding beneficiaries and individual panel data from the Polish Social Diagnosis Survey, we find a positive association between EU agricultural spending and euroscepticism as measured by voting and attitudinal data. By examining the relationship between EU aid and eurosceptic political behavior and opinions, this project sheds light on the political economy of transfers and calls into question the unifying potential of agricultural spending.
Keywords: Transfers, Euroscepticism, Poland
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