SEMINAR: “Preference for Secession: The Divide over Catalan Independence”

Maria José Hierro (Yale University)

25th June, 13:00h, Sala Annexa (B1/-109) de la Facultat de Ciències Polítiques

The literature on secession argues that wealthy regions have both motives and opportunities to split from the titular state. Are individual preferences for secession also informed by economic considerations? Building on international political economy and studies on nationalism, we examine the explanatory leverage of self-interested considerations, social orientations, and identity on secession preferences. We rely on data from an original online survey fielded days before the snap regional election held in Catalonia in December 2017. Secession supporters are more educated, cosmopolitan and pro-immigration, deviating from other forms of xenophobic, antiglobalization nationalism in Europe. The effect of education, which otherwise challenges the factor model of trade, is channeled by levels of awareness of the Spanish system of interregional transfers. Lastly, trade ties with the titular state are the strongest predictor of support for remaining. The economic roots of secession demands offer an opportunity for transactional politics.