Is the Member States' Curse the EU's Blessing? Inequality and EU Regime Evaluation

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How does inequality shape regime evaluations in Europe's multi-level governance system? I argue that rising inequality improves citizens' evaluation of the EU's political system. This effect is driven by two mechanisms. First, adverse social and political consequences of inequality within national democracies strongly erode national regime evaluations. This leads to an improvement of EU regime evaluations in relative terms. Second, citizens compensate negative national conditions by redirecting hopes to the supranational level. This compensation mechanisms further tilts regime evaluates in favour of the EU. An empirical analysis of change in national and European parliament trust across 27 member states and 14 years provides empirical support for this argument. It also shows that the two mechanisms coexist and that their relevance is conditioned by previous levels of regime support.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Common Market Studies
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1215-1234
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes


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