a1 University of Kentucky, University of Michigan
Public opinion, through its impact on mass behavior, shapes and constrains the process of European integration. Why do citizens vary in their support for European integration? Previous research offers a variety of sometimes conflicting explanations, but the available evidence is insufficient to determine which explanations are valid. This article seeks to contribute to the resolution of this controversy by empirically examining five prominent theories of support for integration. Through regression analyses of Euro barometer surveys from the period 1978–1992, the analysis shows that the partisan context of integrative reforms and the utilitarian consequences of integrative policy provide robust explanations for variation in support. In contrast, two other prominent theories—political value sand cognitive mobilization—are only valid in a limited context, and in this context they exert a small substantive impact on support.
(Accepted June 17 1996)
(Received May 23 1997)
Matthew Gabel is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of Michigan, and assistant professor of political science at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY 40506–0027.