IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Communication effects, ethnicity, and support for secessionism in stateless nations: results from a survey experiment in Catalonia


  • Yannis Karagiannis


Over the past twenty years or so, economic and cultural interdependence has gone hand in hand with the rise of nationalism, particularly in stateless nations. For example, Catalan politics has increasingly focused on the issue of secession from the rest of Spain. As in Flanders, Quebec, Scotland, and elsewhere, the ensuing polarization of opinion creates two questions of paramount importance for social scientists: (a) How strong are individual preferences? and (b) what determines these preferences? To answer these questions, we use a custom-designed survey experiment (N = 913) which allows us to estimate the effect of frames net of confounding effects, and to determine other determinants of preferences. We find that frames matter even in polarized political times and when voters have had enough time to form their judgement on a given issue. We also detect a strong role for ethnicity, measured as the number of Catalan-speaking grandparents and language spoken at home, as well as for the geographical scope of professional activity. Our findings help challenge the economic approach to politics, whereby agents hold well-defined and constant preferences, and give support to the view that both short- and long-run constructivist elements play a crucial role in centrifugal political movements.

Suggested Citation

  • Yannis Karagiannis, 2014. "Communication effects, ethnicity, and support for secessionism in stateless nations: results from a survey experiment in Catalonia," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers p0386, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:euirsc:p0386

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brancati, Dawn, 2006. "Decentralization: Fueling the Fire or Dampening the Flames of Ethnic Conflict and Secessionism?," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 651-685, July.
    2. Nadeau, Richard & Martin, Pierre & Blais, Andrã‰, 1999. "Attitude Towards Risk-Taking and Individual Choice in the Quebec Referendum on Sovereignty," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(3), pages 523-539, June.
    3. Chong, Dennis & Druckman, James N., 2010. "Dynamic Public Opinion: Communication Effects over Time," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 663-680, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Marco R Steenbergen & Tomasz Siczek, 2017. "Better the devil you know? Risk-taking, globalization and populism in Great Britain," European Union Politics, , vol. 18(1), pages 119-136, March.
    2. Parker Hevron, 2018. "Judicialization and Its Effects: Experiments as a Way Forward," Laws, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(2), pages 1-21, May.
    3. Stefan Wolff & Simona Ross & Asbjorn Wee, . "Subnational Governance and Conflict," World Bank Other Operational Studies, The World Bank, number 34436, March.
    4. Roberto Ezcurra & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2017. "Does ethnic segregation matter for spatial inequality?," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(6), pages 1149-1178.
    5. Xavier Cuadras Morató & Toni Rodon, 2017. "The dog that didn’t bark: on the effect of the Great Recession on the surge of secessionism," Economics Working Papers 1569, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    6. Thierry Madiès & Grégoire Rota-Grasiozi & Jean-Pierre Tranchant & Cyril Trépier, 2018. "The economics of secession: a review of legal, theoretical, and empirical aspects," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics, Springer;Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics, vol. 154(1), pages 1-18, December.
    7. Amit Bhaduri, 2018. "A macroeconomic perspective on Asian development," WIDER Working Paper Series 91, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    8. Martijn Huysmans & Christophe Crombez, 2020. "Making exit costly but efficient: the political economy of exit clauses and secession," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 89-110, March.
    9. Deniz Aksoy & Dino Hadzic, 2019. "Political institutions and collective attachments," European Union Politics, , vol. 20(4), pages 584-607, December.
    10. Luis Diaz-Serrano & Enric Meix-Llop, 2019. "Decentralization and the quality of public services: Cross-country evidence from educational data," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 37(7), pages 1296-1316, November.
    11. Flamand, Sabine, 2019. "Partial decentralization as a way to prevent secessionist conflict," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 159-178.
    12. Basedau, Matthias, 2011. "Managing Ethnic Conflict: The Menu of Institutional Engineering," GIGA Working Papers 171, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
    13. Zsuzsa Csergő & Philippe Roseberry & Stefan Wolff, 2017. "Institutional Outcomes of Territorial Contestation: Lessons from Post-Communist Europe, 1989–2012," Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(4), pages 491-521.
    14. Ezcurra, Roberto & Palacios, David, 2016. "Terrorism and spatial disparities: Does interregional inequality matter?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 60-74.
    15. Wegenast, Tim, 2010. "Inclusive Institutions and the Onset of Internal Conflict in Resource-rich Countries," GIGA Working Papers 126, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
    16. Jonas Tallberg & Michael Zürn, 2019. "The legitimacy and legitimation of international organizations: introduction and framework," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 581-606, December.
    17. Strasheim, Julia, 2017. "The Politics of Institutional Reform and Post-Conflict Violence in Nepal," GIGA Working Papers 296, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
    18. Grasa, Rafael & Camps, Arnau, 2009. "Conflict Prevention and Decentralized Governance," MPRA Paper 18877, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Martin Baekgaard & Søren Serritzlew & Jens Blom-Hansen, 2016. "Causes of Fiscal Illusion: Lack of Information or Lack of Attention?," Public Budgeting & Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(2), pages 26-44, June.
    20. Paolo Dardanelli, 2019. "Conceptualizing, Measuring, and Mapping State Structures—with an Application to Western Europe, 1950–2015," Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(2), pages 271-298.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:erp:euirsc:p0386. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Valerio PAPPALARDO (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.