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The limits of support for differentiated integration in the European Union as perceived by academic experts

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
Article number2123744
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/12/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Political Research Exchange
Issue number1
Volume4
Number of pages24
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date19/09/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Differentiated integration (DI) in the European Union has recently attracted considerable scholarly and political attention. Yet, we know rather little about where scholars’ normative support of DI begins and where it ends, and whether there is scholarly consensus about which type of DI warrants support. This contribution addresses which type of DI scholars support, and which policy areas should be exempt. It explores these questions by means of a novel expert survey (n = 95). Three broad observations can be made. First, whilst support for DI is strong in the abstract, it becomes much weaker when empirically applied. Second, the high levels of support are not necessarily in tune with the perceived risks of DI. Third, there is a fair amount of expert disagreement around DI. We defend the view that the type of disagreement we see in the findings is valid and substantively relevant because it highlights genuine diffusion (as opposed to conceptual confusion) in the distribution of preferences among experts that has previously been largely obscured. The article thereby also makes a contribution to the literature on expert surveys, discussing the distinction between benchmarking and non-benchmarking expert surveys, and the legitimacy of expert disagreement.