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The dynamics of support: the winners–losers gap in attitudes toward EU membership in post-communist countries

  • Alexander Herzog (a1) and Joshua A. Tucker (a1)

Abstract

We examine the question of whether economic winners were more likely to support European Union (EU) membership than economic losers in post-communist countries. We include in our analysis every cross-national survey of post-communist countries with both a measure of individual attitudes toward EU membership as well as an appropriate measure of individual self-assessment of economic progress. The resultant data set contains data from 67 different surveys over a 12-year period (1991–2003) in all 10 post-communist countries that have joined the EU to date. Using a variety of analytical techniques, ranging from simple cross-tables and multivariate analysis of the individual surveys to multilevel models of a fully pooled data set, we show that the pattern of economic winners being more likely to support EU membership for their country is remarkably consistent across both time and space. At the same time, the dynamic component of the analysis allows us to show that the size of this gap varies over time, with winners being even more likely to support EU membership than losers when EU membership is a more realistic possibility.

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An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, 3–6 April 2008, and the 2008 Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Nationalities, New York, NY, 10–12 April 2008.

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