Discussion paper

DP14040 The geography of EU discontent

Support for parties opposed to EU-integration has risen rapidly and a wave of discontent has taken over the EU. This discontent is purportedly driven by the very factors behind the surge of populism: differences in age, wealth, education, or economic and demographic trajectories. This paper maps the geography of EU discontent across more than 63,000 electoral districts in the EU-28 and assesses which factors push anti-EU voting. The results show that anti-EU vote is mainly a consequence of local economic and industrial decline in combination with lower employment and a less educated workforce. Many of the other suggested causes of discontent, by contrast, matter less than expected or their impact varies depending on levels of opposition to European integration.


Dijkstra, L, H Poelman and A Rodríguez-Pose (2019), ‘DP14040 The geography of EU discontent‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 14040. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp14040