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      It's not about the money. EU funds, local opportunities, and Euroscepticism

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          Abstract

          Growing Euroscepticism across the European Union (EU) leaves open questions as to what citizens expect to gain from EU Membership and what influences their dissent for EU integration. This paper looks at the EU Structural Funds, one of the largest and most visible expenditure items in the EU budget, to test their impact on electoral support for the EU. By leveraging the Referendum on Brexit held in the United Kingdom, a spatial RDD analysis offers causal evidence that EU money does not influence citizens' support for the EU. Conversely, the analysis shows that EU funds mitigate Euroscepticism only where they are coupled by tangible improvements in local labour market conditions, the ultimate objective of this form of EU intervention. Money cannot buy love for the EU, but its capacity to generate new local opportunities certainly can.

          Highlights

          • We have significantly improved the discussion of the role of local unemployment as a possible outcome of more effective EU policies. We have pursued further tests on this variable and have acknowledged throughout the paper the possibility that lower Euroscepticism in presence of improved labour market conditions may be a direct result of the effectiveness of European policies.

          • We have discussed in great depth our identification strategy and the reasons why, given some data constraints, a classic RDD appears more suitable than a fuzzy RDD in our setting. We have extensively discussed the reasons why Cornwall does not represent a suitable setting for a causal analysis similar to the one we perform for West Wales and, therefore, it cannot be added as a second case study in our study.

          • We have updated and improved the balancing tests and added some key robustness tests (e.g. estimates with wild-bootstrapped standard errors).

          • We have slightly amended the title of the article putting a stronger emphasis on Euroscepticism. We have also better clarified in the introduction that the paper leverages Brexit in order to study a much wider question on the way in which EU funds may influence Euroscepticism. Overall introduction and conclusions have been amended to further reinforce the placement of the paper into current scholarly and policy debates.

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          Most cited references 32

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          The role of human capital in economic development evidence from aggregate cross-country data

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            Do Better Schools Matter? Parental Valuation of Elementary Education

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              Populism and the economics of globalization

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Reg Sci Urban Econ
                Reg Sci Urban Econ
                Regional Science and Urban Economics
                The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.
                0166-0462
                0166-0462
                15 June 2020
                15 June 2020
                Affiliations
                [a ]London School of Economics, United Kingdom
                [b ]Ca'Foscari University of Venice, Italy
                [c ]Roma Tre University, Italy
                Author notes
                []Corresponding author. London School of Economics, United Kingdom. m.di-cataldo@ 123456lse.ac.uk
                Article
                S0166-0462(19)30429-6 103556
                10.1016/j.regsciurbeco.2020.103556
                7295496
                c625ba08-aab4-4659-b69f-c4ddb832d059
                © 2020 The Authors

                Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.

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