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Cross-border mobility and European identity: The effectiveness of intergroup contact during the ERASMUS year abroad


  • Emmanuel Sigalas

    (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria,


Cross-border people mobility has long been seen as a promising method to promote European integration. In this article, I test the premise that the ERASMUS student experience abroad and direct interpersonal contact promote a European identity. The results draw from a two-wave longitudinal survey on two samples of ERASMUS students who studied in continental Europe and England, respectively. Although studying abroad led to increased socializing with other Europeans, contact with host country students remained limited. The paired sample t-tests reveal that ERASMUS does not strengthen students’ European identity; on the contrary, it can have an adverse effect on it. Nevertheless, the regression analyses show that increased socializing with Europeans has a positive, though modest, impact on European identity.

Suggested Citation

  • Emmanuel Sigalas, 2010. "Cross-border mobility and European identity: The effectiveness of intergroup contact during the ERASMUS year abroad," European Union Politics, , vol. 11(2), pages 241-265, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:eeupol:v:11:y:2010:i:2:p:241-265

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    Cited by:

    1. Finn, Mairead & Darmody, Merike, 2015. "Predicting International Higher Education Students’ Satisfaction with their Study in Ireland," Papers WP520, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    2. Aleberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini & Francesco Trebbi, 2017. "Is Europe an Optimal Political Area?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 48(1 (Spring), pages 169-234.
    3. Gerhard Reese & Oliver Lauenstein, 2014. "The Eurozone Crisis: Psychological Mechanisms Undermining and Supporting European Solidarity," Social Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(1), pages 1-12, March.


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