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To leave or not to leave? Understanding the support for the United Kingdom membership in the European Union: identity, attitudes towards the political system and socioeconomic status

To leave or not to leave? Understanding the support for the United Kingdom membership in the European Union: identity, attitudes towards the political system and socioeconomic status
To leave or not to leave? Understanding the support for the United Kingdom membership in the European Union: identity, attitudes towards the political system and socioeconomic status
This article proposes a decision model of the British support for leaving the European Union (EU) that includes both identity aspirations, attitudes towards the political system and economic interest and test it on the Understanding Society 6th, 7th and 8thsurveys. Current studies tend to interpret the British Euroscepticism as a combination of attachment to British identity, lack of economic opportunities and dissatisfaction with the political class. Using this approach where factors are additive, it is not possible to account for the substantial portion of socio-economically advantaged individuals which prefer to leave the EU, and for those who, despite their low attachment to their British identity, the relatively high educational level and satisfaction with domestic democracy, prefer to leave the EU. I use a theoretical approach which considers both economic and cultural considerations are rational considerations and conceptualise their interaction in terms of trade off. I use classification tree analysis to evaluate the relative importance of the main explanatory factors and of their interaction. The results show that the negative evaluation of the political system makes certain groups, which otherwise tend to support European integration, lean towards Euroscepticism. It helps to explain the Euroscepticism of those who are less attached to their British identity and of advantaged classes. The results have also showed that anti-establishment attitudes are not associated with disadvantaged socio-economic groups. The dissatisfaction with domestic democracy is relevant mostly for the advantaged classes, and the lack of political efficacy affects equally the attitudes of advantaged and disadvantaged groups. Last, disadvantaged groups’ support for European integration is driven by identity aspirations not by economic interest
Brexit, European integration, classification tree, decision model
1043-4631
255-277
Pensiero, Nicola
a4abb10f-51db-493d-9dcc-5259e526e96b
Pensiero, Nicola
a4abb10f-51db-493d-9dcc-5259e526e96b

Pensiero, Nicola (2020) To leave or not to leave? Understanding the support for the United Kingdom membership in the European Union: identity, attitudes towards the political system and socioeconomic status. Rationality and Society, 32 (2), 255-277. (doi:10.1177/1043463120945268).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article proposes a decision model of the British support for leaving the European Union (EU) that includes both identity aspirations, attitudes towards the political system and economic interest and test it on the Understanding Society 6th, 7th and 8thsurveys. Current studies tend to interpret the British Euroscepticism as a combination of attachment to British identity, lack of economic opportunities and dissatisfaction with the political class. Using this approach where factors are additive, it is not possible to account for the substantial portion of socio-economically advantaged individuals which prefer to leave the EU, and for those who, despite their low attachment to their British identity, the relatively high educational level and satisfaction with domestic democracy, prefer to leave the EU. I use a theoretical approach which considers both economic and cultural considerations are rational considerations and conceptualise their interaction in terms of trade off. I use classification tree analysis to evaluate the relative importance of the main explanatory factors and of their interaction. The results show that the negative evaluation of the political system makes certain groups, which otherwise tend to support European integration, lean towards Euroscepticism. It helps to explain the Euroscepticism of those who are less attached to their British identity and of advantaged classes. The results have also showed that anti-establishment attitudes are not associated with disadvantaged socio-economic groups. The dissatisfaction with domestic democracy is relevant mostly for the advantaged classes, and the lack of political efficacy affects equally the attitudes of advantaged and disadvantaged groups. Last, disadvantaged groups’ support for European integration is driven by identity aspirations not by economic interest

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Accepted/In Press date: 7 July 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 25 July 2020
Keywords: Brexit, European integration, classification tree, decision model

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 442465
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/442465
ISSN: 1043-4631
PURE UUID: 4691c742-41cd-4488-a71d-c762c0feb8df
ORCID for Nicola Pensiero: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2823-9852

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Date deposited: 16 Jul 2020 16:30
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 02:30

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