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Drivers and Brakemen


  • Eric S. Nguyen

    (Harvard Law School, USA,


This article investigates the effect of public opinion, ideology, and political security on state decision-making on economic integration within the European Union (EU). Although leaders may have objective preferences based on projected economic effects and party ideology, they often face domestic constituencies with different views on increasing European interdependence. I argue that leaders with higher political security are able to discount adverse public opinion and to pursue their own preferences. Where leaders feel their political life may be in jeopardy, they stake out positions closer to prevailing public opinion. I test this hypothesis using a series of ordered probit models, and I conclude that even modest gains in political security dramatically increase the likelihood of a leader pushing strongly for economic integration.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric S. Nguyen, 2008. "Drivers and Brakemen," European Union Politics, , vol. 9(2), pages 269-293, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:eeupol:v:9:y:2008:i:2:p:269-293
    DOI: 10.1177/1465116508089088

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    References listed on IDEAS

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