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The Dog that Didn’t Bark: On the Effect of the Great Recession on the Surge of Secessionism

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  • Xavier Cuadras Morató
  • Toni Rodon

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between the economic turmoil generated by the Great Recession and the increase of secessionism in different regions of Western countries. Some authors have stressed that the Great Recession triggered profound changes in political attitudes and preferences and, in the context of a conflict between the centre and the periphery, fuelled secessionism as a radical shift of the institutional setup. Nevertheless, other researchers have remarked that a deep recession may make voters more accommodating with the status quo and more reluctant to take radical stances. Our paper aims at contributing to this debate by analyzing the case of Catalonia. We use the variation of economic variables and data from surveys and electoral outcomes at the level of municipalities to explore the relationship between the deterioration of the economic situation (that is, the local variation in the intensity of the crisis) and the increase of preferences for secession among the Catalan population. The findings from the analysis of our empirical models do not support the hypothesis that the heterogeneous effects of the Great Recession had any significant impact on political preferences at the level of municipality in Catalonia. These findings contribute to our understanding of the effects of hard economic times on people’s attitudes and behaviour.

Suggested Citation

  • Xavier Cuadras Morató & Toni Rodon, 2017. "The Dog that Didn’t Bark: On the Effect of the Great Recession on the Surge of Secessionism," Working Papers 968, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:968
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nadeau, Richard & Martin, Pierre & Blais, Andr, 1999. "Attitude Towards Risk-Taking and Individual Choice in the Quebec Referendum on Sovereignty," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(03), pages 523-539, June.
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    5. Fernandez, Raquel & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Resistance to Reform: Status Quo Bias in the Presence of Individual-Specific Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1146-1155, December.
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    7. Tim Willems, 2014. "You Can Go Your Own Way: Explaining Partisan Support for Independence," Economics Series Working Papers 717, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    8. Paolo Dardanelli, 2005. "Democratic Deficit or the Europeanisation of Secession? Explaining the Devolution Referendums in Scotland," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 53, pages 320-342, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    great recession; unemployment; Secession; economic crisis; Catalonia;

    JEL classification:

    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-

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