Are Nationalists Better Citizens?

43 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2021

See all articles by Lenka Dražanová

Lenka Dražanová

European University Institute - Migration Policy Centre

Andrew Roberts

Northwestern University

Date Written: February 10, 2021


The recent rise in the popularity of nationalist movements tells us that more attention should be paid to the effects of national feeling on politics. This article considers the potential relationship between national identity and active and allegiant citizenship and particularly whether nationalists and patriots are better citizens than those who have weaker feelings towards their country. We analyze these relationships using data from the European Values Study in 2008 and 2017. Our main models control for a variety of political, social, and economic causes of good citizenship and include country fixed effects in addition to three measures of national feeling. Our findings indicate that civic national identity is connected with better citizenship on virtually all of our outcomes, whereas ethnic national identity is frequently connected with worse citizenship. We explain these results using social identity theory and theories of prejudice. The results suggest that politicians ignore or downplay national feeling at their peril.

Keywords: Nationalism, citizenship, patriotism, political participation, civil society

Suggested Citation

Dražanová, Lenka and Roberts, Andrew, Are Nationalists Better Citizens? (February 10, 2021). Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Research Paper No. RSCAS 2020/90, Available at SSRN: or

Lenka Dražanová (Contact Author)

European University Institute - Migration Policy Centre ( email )

Villa Malafrasca
Via Boccaccio 151
Florence, I-50133

Andrew Roberts

Northwestern University ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

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