How do citizens perceive centralization reforms? Evidence from the merger of French regions

Lionel Wilner (Insee-Crest)

Documents de travail
No G2020-07
Paru le :Paru le24/09/2020
Lionel Wilner (Insee-Crest)
Documents de travail No G2020-07- September 2020

Using the 2016 merger of French regions as a natural experiment, this paper adopts a differencein-difference identification strategy to recover its causal impact on individual subjective wellbeing. No depressing effect is found despite increased centralization; life satisfaction has even increased in regions that were absorbed from economic and political viewpoints. The empirical evidence also suggests that local economic performance improved in the concerned regions, which includes a faster decline in the unemployment rate. In this setting, economic gains have likely outweighed cultural attachment to administrative regions.