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Despite an upsurge in nationalist rhetoric, EU citizens still support European level decision making in several policy areas. For a political union to be effective, however, similarity in policy preferences is necessary. In this video, GUIDO TABELLINI considers whether citizens of different EU states are sufficiently similar in their views of the world to make further political integration feasible. Analyzing survey data on areas including values and civic capital, religiosity and the role of the state, Tabellini finds that despite heterogeneity between EU citizens increasing over time, Europeans are still not very different from one another. Nevertheless, with European identity remaining much weaker than national identities, Tabellini identifies a number of measures that could help to underpin further political integration going forward.


Guido Tabellini is a Professor of Economics (Intesa Sanpaolo Chair in Political Economics) at Bocconi University, Milan where he was Rector between 2008 and 2012. Having previously held positions at the Universities of Cagliari and Brescia in Italy and Stanford and UCLA in the United States, Tabellini’s main areas of research include monetary economics, public economics, and political economics. Sitting on several prestigious company boards and scientific committees, Tabellini has provided consultancy expertise to the Italian Treasury and to the World Bank. In 2016, Professor Tabellini was the first Italian scholar to receive the Foreign Honorary Members Award of the American Economic Association (AEA).

Original publication

Is Europe an Optimal Political Area?

Alesina Alberto, Tabellini Guido and Trebbi Francesco
Brookings Papers on Economic Activity
Published in 2017