It’s Not About the Money! EU Funds, Local Opportunities, and the Brexit Vote

46 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2019

See all articles by Riccardo Crescenzi

Riccardo Crescenzi

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Geography and Environment

Marco Di Cataldo

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Geography and Environment; Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Department of Economics

Mara Giua

University of Rome III

Date Written: November 9, 2019

Abstract

Growing Euroscepticism across the European Union (EU) leaves open questions as to what citizens expect to gain from EU Membership and what influences their dissent for the EU integration project. This paper looks at EU Structural Funds, one of the largest and most visible expenditure items in the EU budget, to test the impact of EU money on electoral support for the EU. By leveraging the Referendum on Brexit hold in the United Kingdom, a spatial RDD analysis offers causal evidence that EU money does not influence citizens’ support for the EU. Conversely, the analysis shows that EU funds contribute to mitigate Euroscepticism only where they are coupled with tangible improvements in the local labour market conditions. In order to gain support from its citizens, the European Union needs to produce tangible impacts, generating opportunities at the local level where these are felt the most by voters.

Keywords: Europe, EU funds, Cohesion Policy, Brexit, Euroscepticism, RDD

JEL Classification: R58, D72, P16

Suggested Citation

Crescenzi, Riccardo and Di Cataldo, Marco and Giua, Mara, It’s Not About the Money! EU Funds, Local Opportunities, and the Brexit Vote (November 9, 2019). LEQS Paper No. 149, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3489134 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3489134

Riccardo Crescenzi (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Geography and Environment ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Marco Di Cataldo

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Geography and Environment ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Department of Economics ( email )

Cannaregio 873
Venice, Veneto 30121
Italy

Mara Giua

University of Rome III ( email )

Via Ostiense, 159
Rome, RM 00145
Italy

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