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Social and Financial Inequality: Innovative Determinants of Support for the European Union in the Republic of Ireland

Kathryn Simpson

Recent trends suggest that the EU citizenry is becoming more critical of the EU. In order to understand perceptions and support for the EU, scholars have utilised national-level frameworks of popular support, notably partisanship and self-interest. More recent research has adopted facets such as national identity, institutions, and attitudes in relation to the normative and empirical function of national and EU institutions. However, these seem to do an increasingly inconsistent job of indicating changing levels of support, particularly in the wake of the financial crisis and austerity measures taken both broadly (the EU) and narrowly (e.g. Ireland). Therefore, using Ireland as a test case, we use the European Election Study (mass surveys) to examine whether individuals' perceptions of economic conditions, specifically including perceptions of social and financial inequality, better explain changes in support for the EU.

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