The Role of Personal Benefits in Public Support for the EU: Learning from the Erasmus Students

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Series Details Vol.33, No.6, November 2010, p1341-1361
Publication Date October 2010
ISSN 0140-2382
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This article presents evidence that the effectiveness of receiving personal benefits from one's country EU membership may have been overestimated. Based on the findings of a longitudinal survey on Erasmus students' attitudes towards the EU, it shows that the beneficiaries of the EU-funded programme did not strengthen their EU support over time. The data analysis controls for a number of alternative explanations and finds that they did not affect the failure of the Erasmus study-abroad experience to instil higher levels of EU support. Neither EU money nor personal contact with other Europeans was capable of influencing students' support for the EU. The empirical results highlight that the increased expectations from both the Erasmus programme and the egocentric utilitarianism thesis are likely to be ill-founded.

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