Euroscepticism and EU Cohesion Policy: The Impact of Micro-Level Policy Effectiveness on Voting Behavior

22  October 2019    5:00 pm CEST

Julia Bachtrögler, Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO)


wiiw, Rahlgasse 3, 1060 Vienna, library (2nd floor)


Julia Bachtrögler

This study investigates whether there is a link between the successful implementation of European cohesion policy and vote shares of eurosceptic parties. Using the French presidential elections in 2017 as a case study, we do not solely consider regional funds expenditures but also its induced effects in a region as potential determinants of pro-European or eurosceptic voting behavior. In order to measure the effectiveness of EU structural funds and cohesion fund assignment, firm-level employment effects in French regions stemming from project allocation during the multi-annual financial framework 2007-2013 are estimated. The obtained average treatment effects are, in a next step, used together with other regional characteristics to capture the citizens’ perceived exposure to the EU in an empirical voting model for the French presidential election in 2017. The estimation results reveal a significant negative relationship between the effectiveness of EU funds allocation and the vote share of the eurosceptic candidate Marine Le Pen.

Julia Bachtrögler is an economist at the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO). Her research focuses on issues related to regional and urban economics, in particular the analysis of economic policy measures in the regional context, regional competitiveness and development. In the course of her PhD studies, she worked on the evaluation of EU cohesion policy, with a special focus on the effects of financial assistance on actual beneficiary firms’ performance. Therefore, she has been engaged with the set-up of a firm-level database matching beneficiaries’ data with business information. In addition, she gained experience in two OECD projects in which, beside others, she analyzed the effects of regional funds receipt for firms of different size.