The Origins of Common Identity: Evidence from Alsace-Lorraine
Sirus H. Dehdari
- American Economic Journal: Applied Economics (Forthcoming)
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 maintain and strengthen regional identity.
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