If Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is confident he can persuade his countrymen to vote against the austerity package offered by their creditors on Sunday, he should think again: The history of referendums in the European Union is that voters have chosen to stick with Europe when the economic outlook was poor. And in Greece, it is ugly.
Tsipras and his government will certainly make powerful appeals to Greek national pride, heroism and the sense of indignity the country has suffered at the hands of the bailout as they try to get the outcome they want. But as recent research shows, referendums tend to be determined by hard economics and rational calculations, rather than emotion. Voters prefer prosperity to heroism.