- Going soft or staying soft: have identity factors become more important than economic rationale when explaining euroscepticism?
- Journal of European Integration
- Volume | Issue number
- 35 | 6
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
The scholarly debate on explanatory factors of public opinion towards the EU has shifted from economic and utilitarian (hard) factors to also encompass identity/ affective (soft) factors. This study investigates the explanatory strengths of these two factors. It does so in the context of 12 long-standing EU member states at two time points (1994 and 2005), drawing on Eurobarometer data. Results from the multi-level analyses show that identity-based as well as utilitarian factors play a significant role in explaining Euroscepticism in both years. Furthermore, the explanatory power of hard factors is very stable across time. We conclude that, against expectations, soft factors did not explain more variance in 2005 than in 1994, but already played an important albeit neglected role in explaining Euroscepticism.
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