This research project will investigate the political economy of public support for European integration. Special focus will be put on Romania and potential lessons for neighbouring states. In concrete, it will investigate the following issues:
The determinants of public support for the European Union and, in particular, economic explanations of differences in support for the EU. These differences will be investigated at territorial level (national, subnational) and social level (by income, age, gender, occupation...). These differences can be measured by responses to opinion polls (Eurobarometer) and by electoral behaviours (support for Eursceptic parties). Are there differences between Eurozone countries and the rest? Are there differences between net lending and net borrowing states? Are there differences between the centre and the periphery? Are there personal differences by income, gender or age?
The attitudes of Romanians towards European integration. Are there differences accross romanian regions regarding support for European integration? And between social groups? Do these differences follow any pattern? How can we explain differences in support for European integration across Romania? Can we predict the evolution of support for European integration in Romania? What have been the economic bases of Romania's support for European integration? What has been the impact of Romania's accession for Romania's economy in terms of imports, exports, foreign direct investments, labour migration, emplyment, production, and public finance, both at aggregate level and across regions and social groups. What has been the impact of trade creation and trade diversion for the Romanian economy? Has European integration reduced inter-regional disparities in Romania? What is the role of structural funds in public support for the European Union? What is the absorption rate of EU funds in Romania? Why is it so low? Has Romania adapted its administrative structures to increase the absorption of EU funds? What have been the consequences of this adaptation for the general efficiency of Romanian government and economy? Has the EU adapted its structural funding to meet the needs of countries like Romania? How? Can there be lessons from Romania's experience for other neighboring countries such as Moldova or Ukraine?
The dependent variable, support for European integration, will be measured from data in the Eurobarometer survey.
The independent variable, the economic foundations of this support, will be measured by means a welfare economics analysis of European integration and EU policies. Welfare gains and losses will be measured for different social groups (producers, consumers, taxpayers).
In the three year period covered by this project there will be one completed doctoral thesis in this topic. Other two doctoral theses will also be initiated. For each doctoral thesis, there will be at least two published articles.