External Threat, Group Identity, and Support for Common Policies – The Effect of the Russian Invasion in Ukraine on European Union Identity
59 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2020 Last revised: 13 Feb 2020
Date Written: December 30, 2019
A major theory from social psychology claims that external threats can strengthen group identities and cooperation. This paper exploits the Russian invasion in Ukraine 2014 as a sudden increase in the perceived military threat for eastern European Union member states, in particular for the Baltic countries bordering Russia directly. Comparing low versus high-threat member states in a difference-in-differences design, I find a sizeable positive effect on EU identity. It is associated with higher trust in EU institutions and support for common EU policies. Different perceptions of the invasion cause a polarization of preferences between the majority and ethnic Russian minorities.
Keywords: Threat, group identity, nation-building, trust, common policies, decentralization, federalism
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