Regional redistribution and Eurosceptic voting

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Series Details Volume 26, Number 1, Pages 83-105
Publication Date January 2019
ISSN 1466-4429 (online)
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Anticipating the competitive disadvantage of economically weak regions in an integrated European single market, the European Union (EU) redistributes money to alleviate economic inequalities and increase cohesion. However, the amount of European redistribution is very moderate and the recent years have shown that Eurosceptic parties gain ground, especially in economically weak areas. So is Eurosceptic voting related to an insufficient compensation of the losers of EU integration?

Combining European Social Survey data with information on regional funding for 123 EU regions, I demonstrate that the probability of a Eurosceptic vote is highest under insufficient compensation. Insufficient compensation occurs among middle income regions that are cut-off from the bulk of funding due to the regional policies’ targeted approach. Moreover, some of the poorest regions miss out as well, as the more developed areas among the poor are favored in funds allocation. A taming effect of funding on Eurosceptic voting is therefore restricted to the more prosperous regions in Europe’s lagging areas.

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