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Why support International redistribution? Corruption and public support for aid in the eurozone

Journal article
Authors Monika Bauhr
Nicholas Charron
Published in European Union Politics
Volume 19
Issue 2
Pages 233-254
ISSN 1465-1165
Publication year 2018
Published at Quality of Government Institute (QoG)
Department of Political Science
Pages 233-254
Language en
Keywords Corruption, democracy, European Union, financial assistance, redistribution, bailouts, public opinion, institutional trust, EU identity, taxation
Subject categories Political Science


What factors explain public support for international redistribution? While the European Union has sent billions of taxpayers’ money to over indebted euro countries in an attempt to avoid an economic collapse, these transfers have encountered fierce resistance among both donor and recipient constituents. However, we know surpris- ingly little about why citizens support or oppose redistribution within the EU. This paper suggests that domestic levels of corruption and institutional quality may be one of the most important explanations for the great variation in public support for financial assistance, bailouts and aid. Using recent European Elections Survey data merged with data on regional level quality of government, we show that the effects of institutional quality are consistently stronger than macro-economic factors, including economic development, inequality or levels of public debt. We find strong evidence that citizens in low corrupt contexts are more likely to support financial assistance to fellow member states. The results have implications for future challenges in securing public support for EU economic integration as well as for our understanding of how and why corruption undermines society’s collective action capacity.

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