We study how more negative historical exposure to the actions of nation-states—like war, occupation, and repression—affects the formation of regional identity. The quasi-exogenous division of the French regions Alsace and Lorraine allows us to implement a geographical regression discontinuity design at the municipal level. Using measures of stated and revealed preferences, we find that more negative experiences with nation-states are associated with a stronger regional identity in the short, medium, and long run. This is linked to preferences for more regional decision-making. Establishing regional organizations seems to be a key mechanism to maintaining and strengthening regional identity.
Dehdari, Sirus H., and Kai Gehring.
"The Origins of Common Identity: Evidence from Alsace-Lorraine."
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics,
Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism; Secession
Economic History: Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation: Europe: Pre-1913
Economic History: Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation: Europe: 1913-
Regional and Urban History: Europe: Pre-1913
Regional and Urban History: Europe: 1913-
Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification