- An ever wider gap in an ever closer union: Rising inequalities and euroscepticism in 12 West European democracies, 1975-2009
- Socio-Economic Review
- Volume | Issue number
- 14 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This article asks whether the trend towards greater inequality in European countries has led to an increase in euroscepticism. Traditionally amongst the most equal societies, West European countries have recently witnessed a stark increase in income inequality. European integration is often presented as one of the main driving factors of this development. This raises the question whether Europeans blame the EU for the widening gap between the rich and the poor, and consequently develop eurosceptic attitudes. A multilevel analysis of 79 pooled Eurobarometer survey waves across 12 countries from 1975 to 2009 confirms that increasing income inequality boosts euroscepticism especially amongst the low educated. The findings are consistent with previous research on the link between income inequality and democratic legitimacy. They also provide empirical support for a new educational divide in the wake of European integration and globalisation, and deepen our knowledge on the predictors of EU support.
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