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The geography of EU discontent and the regional development trap

Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés ORCID: 0000-0002-8041-0856, Dijkstra, Lewis and Poelman, Hugo (2024) The geography of EU discontent and the regional development trap. Economic Geography. ISSN 0013-0095

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Identification Number: 10.1080/00130095.2024.2337657


While in recent times many regions have flourished, many others are stuck—or are at risk of becoming stuck—in a development trap. Such regions experience decline in economic growth, employment, and productivity relative to their neighbors and to their own past trajectories. Prolonged periods in development traps are leading to political dissatisfaction and unrest. Such discontent is often translated into support for antisystem parties at the ballot box. In this article we study the link between the risk, intensity, and duration of regional development traps and the rise of discontent in the European Union (EU)—proxied by the support for Eurosceptic parties in national elections between 2013 and 2022—using an econometric analysis at a regional level. The results highlight the strong connection between being stuck in a development trap, often in middle- or high-income regions, and support for Eurosceptic parties. They also suggest that the longer the period of stagnation, the stronger the support for parties opposed to European integration. This relationship remains robust whether considering only the most extreme Eurosceptic parties or including parties with more moderate levels of Euroscepticism.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2024 The Authors
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D7 - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making > D72 - Economic Models of Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R5 - Regional Government Analysis > R58 - Regional Development Policy
R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R1 - General Regional Economics > R11 - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, and Changes
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2024 11:57
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2024 02:34

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