Preferences for European Policy-Making among the European Electorates: Trends, Cross-national, and C...
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Preferences for European Policy-Making among the European Electorates: Trends, Cross-national, and Cross-policy Variations. Pedro Magalhães (Social Sciences Institute, University of Lisbon) Eurolarg – 20th February 2009. What will we be talking about?.

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Pedro Magalhães (Social Sciences Institute, University of Lisbon) Eurolarg – 20th February 2009

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Pedro magalh es social sciences institute university of lisbon eurolarg 20th february 2009

Preferences for European Policy-Making among the European Electorates: Trends, Cross-national, and Cross-policy Variations

Pedro Magalhães

(Social Sciences Institute, University of Lisbon)

Eurolarg – 20th February 2009


What will we be talking about

What will we be talking about?

  • The issue: public support for policy integration;

  • Theories and hypotheses. Differences across:

    • Policies;

    • Countries;

    • Time and contexts.

  • Cross-sectional analysis: explaining differences across policies and countries;

  • Pooled cross-sectional time-series analysis of tem different policy domains.


The issue public support for policy integration

The issue: public support for policy integration

  • What preferences citizens’ have regarding where policy-making should take place in different areas?

  • A relatively neglected issue, at least in comparison with vast amount of studies about levels of “instrumental”, “affective” or “diffuse” support for EU.


The issue mass support for policy integration

The issue: mass support for policy integration

  • A few exceptions: Sinnott (1995); Eichenberg and Dalton (1999); De Winter and Swyndegouw (1999).


The issue mass support for policy integration1

The issue: mass support for policy integration

  • On elite attitudes: Wessels and Kielhorn (1999).

  • On elites and masses: Hooghe (2003).


The issue mass support for policy integration2

The issue: mass support for policy integration

  • Issue taken up by political economists applying theories of fiscal federalism: Alesina and Wacziarg (1999), Alesina et al. (2005); Ahrens et al. (2007)


The issue mass support for policy integration3

The issue: mass support for policy integration

  • Why is this important?

    • Attitudes towards Europe are multidimensional: one thing is generic “instrumental” support for integration, another is support for transfer of sovereignty (Lubbers and Scheepers, 2005);

    • Previous research suggests that even this distinction underspecifies relevant variations between policies and countries;

    • A key to understanding the current travails of the EU?

      • Decline in support as a result of “overextension” of EU since Maastricht (Alesina et al.);

      • Decline in support as result of Maastricht convergence criteria and their impact on social policies (Dalton and Eichenberg).


Theories and hypotheses

Theories and hypotheses

Differences across policies:

  • “Endogenous” or “inherent” internationalization:

    • Mass support for Europeanization higher in issues that transcend borders, where gains cab be obtained from economies of scale, where Europeanization addresses negative externalities and where preference heterogeneity is low.

    • How do you measure this?

      • Theoretically based/normative judgments;

      • Based on contestable assumptions, prone to over-extention;

      • But:


Theories and hypotheses1

Theories and hypotheses

Differences across policies:

  • Relative consensus in the literature: Currency, Environment, Foreign aid, Foreign policy, Organized crime, Migration, Defense.

  • Vis-à-vis: Culture, Education, Employment, Health, Urban/local crime, and (for some) Agriculture and Research.


Theories and hypotheses2

Theories and hypotheses

Differences across policies:

2. “Government spending”:

- Mass support for Europeanization should be lower in areas where shifts of authority involve greater distributional implications, destabilize policy delivery and affect vested interests (Hooghe 2003);

- Education, Health, Welfare, Employment, Defense.


Theories and hypotheses3

Theories and hypotheses

Differences across policies:

3. “Social Model”/“Regulated capitalism”:

- Europeanization of several policy areas construed as a reaction to globalization, a “market-flanking” and “anti-deregulation” approach (Hooghe 2003; Hooghe, Marks and Wilson, 2004).

- Greater support for Europeanization of Social inclusion, Environment, Research, Industrial regulation, Regional assymetries.


Theories and hypotheses4

Theories and hypotheses

Differences across policies:

4. “Exogenous” or “imposed” internationalization:

- Extent to which policies are already claimed as Europeanized; actual decision-making competencies of EU. Citizens likely to be pliable to a “fait accompli” logic of integration-

- Agriculture, Currency, Environment, Humanitarian and Regional aid, Research.


Theories and hypotheses5

Theories and hypotheses

Differences across countries:

1. Quality of governance: citizens in countries with higher quality of governance less likely to support Europeanization of policies.

2. Richer countries, less likely to support harmonization of policies.

3. New democracies: “Europe” connected to democratization and rejection of previous regime; larger support.

4. Size: smaller countries, overepresented in European institutions, more likely to be favourable.


Theories and hypotheses6

Theories and hypotheses

Differences across time and contexts:

- Is there a post-Maastricht decline (like in what occurs with basic support for membership) and, if so, why?

- Economic performance?

- A general post-Maastricht reaction against the increased EU competencies?

- A specific reaction against the consequences of the convergence criteria for economic and social policies?(Dalton and Eichenberg)

- A specific reaction against the increasing policy activism of the EU in areas of “low inherent internationalization”? (Alesina et al)?


The cross sectional analysis

The cross-sectional analysis

  • The dependent variable:

    Weighted net support for integration:

    (Joint-National)*(1-DKNA/100)

    EB58/CCEB2002:

    - one of the last surveys with the full list of policy areas;

    - conducted simultaneously.


Pedro magalh es social sciences institute university of lisbon eurolarg 20th february 2009

No surprises in relation to earlier research


Pedro magalh es social sciences institute university of lisbon eurolarg 20th february 2009

  • No surprises here either.

  • Among the ten most supportive, seven candidate countries,

  • The other three: Greece, Italy, and Spain


What explains cross policy and croos national differences

What explains cross-policy and croos-national differences?

How policies were coded: Alesina et al. (2005); Hooghe (2003); Ahrens et al. (2007)


The results

The results

By far, the two most important policy attributes affecting support for Europeanization


The results1

The results

Quality of governance: negative effect.

New democracy: positive effect.

Economic development: positive effect?


The results2

The results

For “high-spending” policies, support is lower among more developed countries.


The results3

The results


Main conclusions of cross sectional analysis

Main conclusions of cross-sectional analysis

  • Europeans make stark distinctions between policy areas: “social model” and “high inherent internationalization” policies are seen by many more citizens as “European”; in other cases, rejection of European policy-making.

  • There are also stark cross-national variations: newer democracies and those where quality of governance is lower are far more supportive of European policy-making.

  • Interaction effect between development and policy areas: voters in more developed countries are less supportive of Europeanization of “high-spending” policies.


What about trends

What about trends?

  • Four hypothesis, one descriptive and four explanatory:

    • As in the case of generic support for membership, support for policy integration has declined since Maastricht;

    • Reasons for decline:

      • A general reaction against increased EU competencies, that should be visible in all policy areas;

      • Declined caused by declining economic performance, which should be visible in all policy areas;

      • Declining support for Europeanization of policy areas with distributive and economic implications (social and monetary policy).

      • Declining support for Europeanization, but only of “low inherent internationalization areas;


What do we see

What do we see?

  • No general decline;

  • Can it be traced to Maastricht at all?

  • No decline in support for common monetary policy;

  • Decline seems restricted to “low inherent internationalization” areas: press, unemployment, health, education (and perhaps research)


Pedro magalh es social sciences institute university of lisbon eurolarg 20th february 2009

  • Maastricht: at most, positive effects

  • Economic performance: no effects.

  • Decline: secular decline only for low inherent internationalization areas.


In sum

In sum…

1. We should be careful about talking about a “general support” for integration: what happens in what concerns the more “instrumental” dimension (support for/benefits of membership) is not mirrored in other dimensions of support (policy integration).


In sum1

In sum…

2. Support for policy integration is itself multidimensional: transfer of sovereignty is confortably supported by the European publics in some areas, while largely undesired in others. This opens opportunities for mobilization for or against Europe based on different issue areas.


In sum2

In sum…

3. European publics exhibit informed and “rational” preferences:

- They support Europeanization of market-correcting policies and of those where the benefits of Europeanization are clearer;

- Secular trends have reinforced this contrast, suggesting a “learning” mechanism;

- They exhibit preferences consistent with a “national” cost-benefit reasoning:

* Highly advanced democracies don’t want to relinquish sovereignty;

* Richer countries are also more skeptical of “harmonization” of “high-spending” policies at lower standards of delivery.


In sum3

In sum…

  • But this also means broadly conflictual interests between national public opinions

    • Between established/advanced democracies and newer/lower performance democracies;

    • Between more and less developed countries.

      Different countries want different “Europes”.


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