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Can money buy EU love?

Author

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  • Fidrmuc, Jan
  • Hulényi, Martin
  • Tunalı, Çiğdem Börke

Abstract

We explore the role played by Cohesion Policy in the Brexit referendum and the subsequent 2017 general election. Although the UK has been a net contributor to the EU, some regions receive significant amounts of regional aid funds. We find that while Cohesion Policy is positively correlated with the remain vote, this relationship is weak. Most of the variation in the remain vote is explained by economic factors. In contrast, there is a robust negative correlation between Cohesion Policy and voter turnout. We estimate that had there not been this negative relationship, some 2 million more voters would have participated in the referendum, which is more than the winning margin between the remain and leave votes. Our analysis of the 2017 election suggests that Conservatives lost and Labour gained votes in the regions that benefited from Cohesion Policy, while remain-supporting regions showed gains for the Liberal Democrats.

Suggested Citation

  • Fidrmuc, Jan & Hulényi, Martin & Tunalı, Çiğdem Börke, 2019. "Can money buy EU love?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:60:y:2019:i:c:s0176268018304555
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2019.07.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Crescenzi, Riccardo & Di Cataldo, Marco & Giua, Mara, 2020. "It’s not about the money. EU funds, local opportunities, and Euroscepticism," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
    2. Giray Gozgor, 2020. "The Role of Economic Uncertainty in Rising Populism in the EU," CESifo Working Paper Series 8499, CESifo.
    3. Andres Rodriguez-Pose & Lewis Dijkstra, 2020. "Does cohesion policy reduce EU discontent and Euroscepticism?," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 2040, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Sep 2020.
    4. Toke Aidt & Felix Grey & Alexandru Savu, 2019. "The Three Meaningful Votes: Voting on Brexit in the British House of Commons," CESifo Working Paper Series 7819, CESifo.
    5. Aidt, T. S & Grey, F. & Savu, A., 2019. "The Three Meaningful Votes: Voting on Brexit in the British House of Commons," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1979, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    6. Riccardo Crescenzi & Marco Di Cotaldo & Mara Guia, 2019. "It’s not about the money! EU funds, local opportunities, and the Brexit vote," LEQS – LSE 'Europe in Question' Discussion Paper Series 149, European Institute, LSE.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    European integration; Economic voting; Cohesion Policy; Brexit;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration

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