Privileged rebels: a longitudinal analysis of distinctive economic traits of Catalonian secessionism

Adolf, Tobeña, Josep M. Oller, Albert Satorra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


During the last decade, the Catalonian secessionist challenge induced a chronic crisis within Spain's politics that does not offer hints of a viable arrangement. The rapidly escalating demands for secession ran almost in parallel with the accentuation of the economic recession that followed the disruption of the world financial system in 2008-2010. Such secession claims reached maximums during 2012-2014, attaining support levels of nearly 50% of citizenry in favour of independence. These figures subsequently diminished a bit but remained close to that level until today. Despite the coincident course, previous studies had shown that the impact of economic hardships was not a major factor in explaining the segregation urgencies, connecting them instead to triggers related to internecine political struggles in the region: Harsh litigations that resulted in an abrupt polarization along nationalistic features in wide segments of the population. In this longitudinal analysis based on the responses of 88,538 individuals through a regular series of 45 official surveys, in the period 2006-2019, we show that economic factors did play a role in the secessionist wave. Our findings showed that the main idiomatic segmentation (Catalan vs. Spanish, as family language) interacted with economic segmentations in inducing variations on national identity feelings that resulted in erosions of the dual CatSpanish identity. Moreover, our findings also showed that the more privileged segments of Catalonian citizenry where those that mostly supported secession, whereas poorer and unprotected citizenry was clearly against it. All the data points to the conclusion that the secessionist challenge was, in fact, a rebellion of the wealthier and well-situated people.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2020


  • Catalonia
  • Secessionism
  • Household net income
  • Family/mother language


Dive into the research topics of 'Privileged rebels: a longitudinal analysis of distinctive economic traits of Catalonian secessionism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this