Information effects and mass support for EU policy control

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Series Details Vol.13, No.4, December 2012, p535-557
Publication Date December 2012
ISSN 1465-1165
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Democracy requires an active and informed citizenry. Citizen engagement is all the more critical in complex environments such as the European Union (EU). This article examines how having an informed public matters for support for European-level policy competencies. Is public skepticism of EU authority shaped by a lack of knowledge, or are attitudes about policy jurisdiction in Europe’s multilevel system unbiased by information?

Our analysis of collective opinion in 27 issue areas reveals that, in nearly every case, a paucity of knowledge about the EU reduces popular support for European policy control. Further analyses show that possessing knowledge of Europe’s institutions affects support for EU authority in areas involving cross-border political issues. In contrast, we find no consistent biasing effect on opinions about control over economic issues.

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