Dissertation Spotlight: Broadening vs. Deepening: The Correlates of Support for European Integration

European integration, or the political, economic, social, and cultural integration of European states, has been deeply investigated for decades through two different processes:  broadening and deepening. Broadening is the enlargement of the membership of a particular international group, while deepening is EU institutional development for those who are already a part of that group. Most people within the UK opposed broadened integration for fear of a less prominent national identity due to an influx of immigrants. The researcher investigates these two processes in order to explore the supporting views of broadened versus deepened integration, as well as specifically distinguishing these two processes in order to measure their support.

Theoretical contribution plays a major role in analyzing the processes of broadening and deepening, and emphasizes the importance of separating support for integration into these two historical forms. Analyses results help to illustrate the differences of how both processes lie on different dimensions. This helps to separate broadening and deepening into their own categories in order to show the difference in support between the two. Further investigation of these processes can help explain why citizens of the UK chose to withdraw from the EU and how this will play a role in the further institutional and geographical development of the EU.

To encapsulate the support for deepening, the researcher examines literature through a lesser known original outcome variable, which is done through a battery of Eurobarometer questions to predict support for broadening. These Eurobarometer questions were made to measure public opinion within the European Union. Since the future of the EU relies heavily on public opinion, due to the constraining dissensus, these questions will help to predict this public opinion. Decoupling of the processes is also demonstrated to find interesting and unexpected results for the correlates. The author identifies several issues for conceptualization and operational support for integration. To address these problems, future research is supplemented to tackle these issues.

Causation is deemed extremely crucial throughout this research, especially in the development of the literature versus simply relying on correlation. The literature is utilized in a unique manner to see, from a scholar’s point of view, the support for broadening integration. This investigation of broadening versus deepening raises a lot of questions as to what will become of the EU as a result of this change in public opinion and the UK’s separation from it. The author proposes a survey experiment that would observe how the perceived cultural and economic dissimilarity of a potential member state might affect support for broadening.

Dr. Marielena Dias is a graduate of the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy at Florida State University. This post was based on Marielena’s dissertation, written by COSSPP Blog Intern, Madison Riccio.

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