A longitudinal study of euroscepticism in the Netherlands: 2008 versus 1990
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SourceEuropean Union Politics, 12, 1, (2011), pp. 21-40
Article / Letter to editor
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European Union Politics
SubjectInequality Cohesion Rationalization; Ongelijkheid Cohesie Rationalisatie
With a unique longitudinal data set covering a time-span of 18 years, we test to what extent euroscepticism evolved among the Dutch between 1990 and 2008. We compare Eurosceptic attitudes on the eve of the signing of the Treaty of Maastricht with attitudes after the Dutch ‘no’ in the referendum on the European Constitution. We find a strong increase in euroscepticism among the Dutch. This change did not develop evenly across the educational strata. We propose to explain these differences through the utilitarian, political cueing, political cynicism and identity approaches. Over the years, the less educated have become more cynical about politics and have come to perceive a greater ethnic threat than before, which explains their stronger increase in euroscepticism. In contrast to 1990, perceived ethnic threat was the main predictor of euroscepticism in 2008.
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