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

See all articles by Kai Gehring

Kai Gehring

CESifo; University of Bern - Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences

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Date Written: December 30, 2019

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Gehring, Kai, External Threat, Group Identity, and Support for Common Policies – The Effect of the Russian Invasion in Ukraine on European Union Identity (December 30, 2019). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 8061, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3511287 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3511287

Kai Gehring (Contact Author)

CESifo ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

University of Bern - Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences ( email )

United States

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