ARENA Tuesday Seminar: Dimiter Toshkov

Dr. Dimiter Toshkov presented the paper 'How are citizens’ judgements about international cooperation shaped? Experimental evidence from the Eastern periphery of Europe' on 26 September 2017.

Dimiter Toshkov has co-authored the paper with colleagues Antoaneta Dimitrova and Honorata Mazepus from Institute of Public Administration, Leiden University.


While there is a large literature studying the determinants of public support for European integration, we know much less about the forces that shape people’s attitudes towards foreign policy more generally and towards various international cooperation initiatives, especially when these initiatives compete for the hearts and minds of the citizens. In this paper we propose a model of the formation of public preferences and judgements about international cooperation that emphasizes the role of framing as a mechanism linking pre-existing values, beliefs, and factual information about the world. Our central hypothesis posits that the context in which international cooperation is discussed can have an influence on citizens’ judgements and preferences even if their values and beliefs do not change.

To explore these theoretical ideas we conduct survey experiments in three countries on the Eastern periphery of Europe: Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine. Importantly, these countries  are targeted by the integration projects of both Russia and the EU, and their citizens are exposed to a variety of arguments and appeals. Our experimental intervention is in the form of six vignettes that signal specific aspects of international cooperation: economy, security, shared identity, shared traditional values, shared liberal values, and shared norms of governance. We assess the influence of these vignettes and the frames they embody on support for and trust in the EU, Russia, and the Eurasian Economic Union among diverse samples of citizens in the Eastern neighbourhood of the EU.

Download the paper (restricted access)


Published June 19, 2017 2:41 PM - Last modified Nov. 2, 2017 11:37 AM