Changes in euro-scepticism in the Netherlands between 1990 and 2007
ERCOMER / ASW Utrecht University Utrecht, The Netherlands
Sociology Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Since the Maastricht Treaty of 1992, the host society of this treaty, the Netherlands, has witnessed largest change into more euro-scepticism among its inhabitants. Eventually, this has led to the Dutch no to the European constitution in the 2005 referendum. In this contribution we answer which social categories changed strongest in their euro-sceptic attitude. We test hypotheses from utilitarian, political and identity theories. We derive that in particular the lower educated became more euro-sceptic, which can be explained by either of the three theories. We test which of these approaches can interpret a larger change in euro-scepticism for the lower educated. For studying dynamics of euro-scepticism, most researchers have to rely on the repeated cross sections of the Eurobarometer. However, we re-approached in 2007 respondents that cooperated in a survey in 1990, creating a longitudinal design (n=420). In both panel waves respondents were questioned on their attitudes towards the European Union. We tested measurement equivalence over time, and assess to what extent the changes vary by educational levels, and whether the educational differences in the change in euro-scepticism are interpreted by the proposed explanations.