Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 594: Who Wants Political Integration? Evidence from the Swedish EU-Membership Referendum

Jonas Vlachos ()
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Jonas Vlachos: The Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Postal: P.O. Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: The regional voting pattern of the Swedish EU-membership referendum is analyzed to determine voters' preferences over two fiscal regimes: an autonomous Sweden, or Sweden as part of the EU. A major difference between these regimes is that autonomy gives greater national discretion to handle risk-sharing and redistribution between regions. I find that inhabitants of rich and stable regions, with high levels of schooling, small receipts of central government transfers, and trade relations displaying comparative advantages towards the EU were relatively positive to membership. A plausible interpretation is thus that voters in safe and rich regions voted in favor of dismantling the Swedish transfer system.

Keywords: Political Integration; Secession; Regional Risk-Sharing; Regional Redistribution

JEL-codes: F15; H11; H70

19 pages, May 4, 2003

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