Of losers and laggards: The interplay of material conditions and individual perceptions in the shaping of EU discontent Articles uri icon

publication date

  • November 2021

start page

  • 395

end page

  • 415


  • 3


  • 14

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1752-1378

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1752-1386


  • Two principal strands of scholarship analyse the material roots of European Union (EU) discontent. Some focus on the effects of regional decline, while others examine the role of individual socioeconomic factors. This paper brings these two perspectives together. We argue that EU discontent is a multifaceted phenomenon structured by the spatially-rooted interplay between individual and regional material conditions and subjective perceptions. We apply PLS-SEM to Eurobarometer public opinion data (2018-2019) and find that the geographical location and the socioeconomic position shape EU discontent directly. However, material factors' relevance for EU discontent is the greatest in structuring individual future expectations. Furthermore, democratic dissatisfaction turns out to be a key factor, pointing to the importance of institutional perceptions in the geography of discontent.


  • Economics
  • Politics


  • attitudes; discontent; eurobarometer; european union; perceptions; pls