External Threat, Group Identity, and Support for Common Policies - The Effect of the Russian Invasion in Ukraine on European Union Identity
59 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2020
Date Written: 2020
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: external threats, group identity, nation-building, trust, fiscal federalism, European Union, EU identity, Russia, Ukraine, Baltic
JEL Classification: D700, F500, H700, N440, Z100
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