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Citizens Should Vote on Secession


  • Eerola, Essi
  • Määttänen, Niku
  • Poutvaara, Panu


The draft treaty establishing a constitution for the European Union states that each member state may withdraw from the European Union following its own constitutional requirements. We argue that such a rule could lead into an increased use of threat of withdrawal to extract concessions in intergovernmental negotiations. This problem would be exacerbated by national electorates facing an incentive to elect more confrontational politicians. We also suggest a remedy: EU constitution should require that withdrawal from EU membership must be approved by the voters of the withdrawing member state in a referendum.
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Suggested Citation

  • Eerola, Essi & Määttänen, Niku & Poutvaara, Panu, 2004. "Citizens Should Vote on Secession," Discussion Papers 939, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:rif:dpaper:939

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    2. Laussel, Didier, 2002. "Delegation effects in representative democracies: do they foster extremism?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 191-205, August.
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    4. Gradstein, Mark, 2004. "Political Bargaining in a Federation: Buchanan meets Coase," CEPR Discussion Papers 4188, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Vaubel, Roland, 1994. "The Political Economy of Centralization and the European Community," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 81(1-2), pages 151-190, October.
    6. Gradstein, Mark, 2004. "Political bargaining in a federation: Buchanan meets Coase," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(5), pages 983-999, October.
    7. Olivier Compte & Philippe Jehiel, 2002. "On the Role of Outside Options in Bargaining with Obstinate Parties," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1477-1517, July.
    8. Patrick Bolton & Gérard Roland, 1997. "The Breakup of Nations: A Political Economy Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1057-1090.
    9. Bordignon, Massimo & Brusco, Sandro, 2001. "Optimal secession rules," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(10), pages 1811-1834, December.
    10. Buchanan, James M & Faith, Roger L, 1987. "Secession and the Limits of Taxation: Toward a Theory of Internal Exit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 1023-1031, December.
    11. Fidrmuc, Jan, 1999. "Stochastic Shocks and Incentives for (Dis)Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 2104, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Segendorff, Bjorn, 1998. "Delegation and Threat in Bargaining," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 266-283, May.
    13. Thomas Apolte, 1997. "Secession Clauses: A Tool for the Taming of an Arising Leviathan in Brussels?," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 57-70, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Libman, Alexander Mikhailovich, 2009. "Эндогенные Границы И Распределение Власти В Федерациях И Международных Сообществах
      ," MPRA Paper 16473, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Ohr Renate, 2007. "Clubs im Club – Europas Zukunft? / Clubs within the Club – Europe’s Future?," ORDO. Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, De Gruyter, vol. 58(1), pages 67-84, January.
    3. Luque, Jaime & Morelli, Massimo & Tavares, José, 2011. "Fiscal Union Consensus Design under the Risk of Autarky," CEPR Discussion Papers 8552, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Susanne Lechner & Renate Ohr, 2011. "The right of withdrawal in the treaty of Lisbon: a game theoretic reflection on different decision processes in the EU," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 357-375, December.
    5. Till Nikolka & Panu Poutvaara, 2017. "Brexit - Theory and Empirics," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 17(4), pages 68-75, January.
    6. José Tavares, 2012. "Fiscal Union Consensus Design Under The Threat Of Autarky," 2012 Meeting Papers 202, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Alexander Libman, 2015. "Words or deeds: what matters? On the role of symbolic action in political decentralization," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 49(3), pages 801-838, November.

    More about this item


    federalism; secession; EU; referendum;

    JEL classification:

    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis

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