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Political knowledge and attitudes toward (de)centralization in Europe


  • Floriana Cerniglia
  • Laura Pagani


The allocation of competences between the EU and Member States is one of most burning issues in the history of the European integration. From a theoretical economic perspective, this ongoing process calls into question the theory of fiscal federalism. In this paper, we study empirically the impact of European citizens’ knowledge about the EU on their attitudes toward the allocation of competences. We use micro-data from the Eurobarometer survey. We find that more knowledgeable citizens are more willing to favour centralization of competences to the EU in areas where public intervention by individual Member States causes externalities, where scale economies in the provision of public goods are important and where redistributive and stabilization functions have to be pursued.

Suggested Citation

  • Floriana Cerniglia & Laura Pagani, 2014. "Political knowledge and attitudes toward (de)centralization in Europe," Working Papers 272, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2014.
  • Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:272

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Author-Name: Alan S. Blinder & Alan B. Krueger, 2004. "What Does the Public Know about Economic Policy, and How Does It Know It?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 35(1), pages 327-397.
    2. Guido Tabellini, 2003. "Principles of Policymaking in the European Union: An Economic Perspective," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 49(1), pages 75-102.
    3. Alberto Alesina & Ignazio Angeloni & Ludger Schuknecht, 2005. "What does the European Union do?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 123(3), pages 275-319, June.
    4. George Gelauff & Arjan Lejour & I. Grilo, 2008. "Subsidiarity and economic reform in Europe," CPB Special Publication 73, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    5. repec:pri:cepsud:99blinderkrueger is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Giordani, Paolo E. & Ruta, Michele, 2013. "Coordination failures in immigration policy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 55-67.
    7. Inman, Robert P. & Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 1992. "Fiscal federalism in Europe : Lessons from the United States experience," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(2-3), pages 654-660, April.
    8. Eichenberg, Richard C. & Dalton, Russell J., 1993. "Europeans and the European Community: the dynamics of public support for European integration," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(04), pages 507-534, September.
    9. Fuchs-Schundeln, Nicola & Alesina, Alberto, 2007. "Good-Bye Lenin (Or Not?): The Effect of Communism on People's Preferences," Scholarly Articles 4553032, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    10. Alan Blinder & Alan Krueger, 2004. "What Does the Public Know about Economic Policy, and How Does It Know It?," Working Papers 875, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    11. Carlo Mazzaferro & Alberto Zanardi, 2008. "Centralisation versus Decentralisation of Public Policies: Does the Heterogeneity of Individual Preferences Matter?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 29(1), pages 35-73, March.
    12. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
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    More about this item


    European Union; Information; Policy opinions; Political Economy;

    JEL classification:

    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

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