In the era of global stability, it is crucial to understand the nuances that maintain peace. Neoliberal institutionalism is the ideal that institutions bound together promote peace through sharing stakes and developing positive cost-benefit matrixes that ensure cooperation. The European Union (EU), a neoliberal institution, was developed to establish a peaceful, cooperative European system to further the European agenda and foster power through combined assets. The EU has manifested this success and prosperity—until one of its member states, the United Kingdom, defected from the institution, causing a shock to the EU system. Why would an institution yielding positive returns see one of its members defect? Furthermore, is such a surprise likely to happen again? This study aims to answer these questions. It does so by analyzing the factors that predated Brexit, both to explain that outcome and to establish the indicators suggesting a member state might leave the EU. It finds that internal crises within EU member states cause Euroscepticism, which may erode distrust and cause a state to be more likely to leave. However, it also finds that the quality of public services and the national economy contribute directly to trusting the EU, wherein a state must never have the bare minimum access to either regime if the EU expects members to trust it.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Larsen, Kelsey


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Sciences


Politics, Security, and International Affairs

Degree Program

Political Science



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date