The Origins of Common Identity: Evidence from Alsace-Lorraine
120 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2019
Date Written: 2019
The quasi-exogenous division of the French regions Alsace and Lorraine after the Franco-Prussian War allows us to provide evidence about group identity formation within historically homogeneous regions. We use several measures of stated and revealed preferences at the municipal-level in a geographical regression discontinuity design. More nation-state repression is associated with a strengthening of regional identity in the short, medium, and long run. We explain this in a model and document that the establishment of regionalist organizations is a key mechanism to strengthen identity. A relatively stronger regional compared to national identity is associated with preferences for more regional decision-making.
Keywords: group identity, nation-building, repression, assimilation, regional identity, border regions, Alsace-Lorraine
JEL Classification: D910, H700, N400, Z190
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation