Working Papers

ASLETT, K. and MAGISTRO, B., Principal Agent Problems Within EU Funds: A Case Study of Patronage in Hungary

EU Structural Funds are responsible for both economic growth and democratic back -sliding in Post -Soviet states. This paper explain s the latter of these two consequences by utilizing a principal -agent framework to analyze the distribution of these funds. We argue that the EU, the principal , is detached from the distribution and auditing processes, while member states, the agents, are in full control. As a resul t, member state government s can legally redesign the funds’ distribution structure into a machine of patronage that undermines democratic institutions . This process is detailed through a case study of Hungary.

MAGISTRO, B. and WITTSTOCK, N., Dormant until activated? Attitudes towards immigration and issue salience after the 2015 refugee crisis in Germany and Italy.

Beginning in 2012, alongside one of the most dramatic economic crises, migration to Europe by refugees and asylum seekers increased steadily, peaking in 2015. The refugee crisis that ensued in the European Union was followed by the extraordinary electoral success of far-right populist parties across Europe. Often, these parallel processes are described as evidentiary of the proposition that accelerated migration can sour public opinion towards foreigners. Analyzing public opinion data from Germany and Italy we find that attitudes towards immigration did not change significantly over this time period in Germany, while they actually became slightly more open in Italy. Instead, we demonstrate that the political salience of immigration changed decidedly, providing substantial support for the hypothesis that anti-immigration attitudes are often dormant or politically unimportant until activated or politicized.