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Learning to Love Globalization: Education and Individual Attitudes Toward International Trade

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  • Hainmueller, Jens
  • Hiscox, Michael J.

Abstract

Recent studies of public attitudes toward trade have converged on one central finding: support for trade restrictions is highest among respondents with the lowest levels of education. This has been interpreted as strong support for the Stolper-Samuelson theorem, the classic economic treatment of the income effects of trade that predicts that trade openness benefits those owning factors of production with which their economy is relatively well endowed (those with skills in the advanced economies) while hurting others (low-skilled workers). We reexamine the available survey data, showing that the impact of education on attitudes toward trade is almost identical among respondents in the active labor force and those who are not (even those who are retired). We also find that, while individuals with college-level educations are far more likely to favor trade openness than others, other types of education have no significant effects on attitudes, and some actually reduce the support for trade, even though they clearly contribute to skill acquisition. Combined, these results strongly suggest that the effects of education on individual trade preferences are not primarily a product of distributional concerns linked to job skills. We suggest that exposure to economic ideas and information among college-educated individuals plays a key role in shaping attitudes toward trade and globalization. This is not to say that distributional issues are not important in shaping attitudes toward trade just that they are not clearly manifest in the simple, broad association between education levels and support for free trade.The authors would like to thank James Alt, Jeffry Frieden, Robert Lawrence, Dani Rodrik, Ron Rogowski, Ken Scheve, Andy Baker, Peter Gourevitch, and Beth Simmons for helpful comments on earlier drafts.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal International Organization.

Volume (Year): 60 (2006)
Issue (Month): 02 (April)
Pages: 469-498

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Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:60:y:2006:i:02:p:469-498_06

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References

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  1. Eugene Beaulieu, 2002. "Factor or Industry Cleavages in Trade Policy? An Empirical Analysis of the Stolper-Samuelson Theorem," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 99-131, 07.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Anna Maria Mayda & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2007. "Risk, Government andd Globalization: International Survey Evidence," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp218, IIIS.
  2. Gordon H. Hanson & Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2005. "Public Finance and Individual Preferences Over Globalization Strategies," Working Papers 524, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  3. Muhammad Azmat Hayat & Etienne Farvaque, 2012. "Public Attitudes towards Central Bank Independence: Lessons From the Foundation of the ECB," Working Papers hal-00988169, HAL.
  4. Xiaobo Lü & Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2010. "Envy, Altruism, and the International Distribution of Trade Protection," NBER Working Papers 15700, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. TOMIURA Eiichi & ITO Banri & MUKUNOKI Hiroshi & WAKASUGI Ryuhei, 2013. "Endowment Effect and Trade Policy Preferences: Evidence from a survey on individuals," Discussion papers 13009, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  6. Simon Kemp, 2008. "Lay attitudes to trade with low-wage countries," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 3, pages 335-343, April.
  7. Nicholas Weller, 2009. "Trading policy: Constituents and party in U.S. trade policy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 141(1), pages 87-101, October.
  8. Daniele, Gianmarco & Geys, Benny, 2012. "Public support for institutionalised solidarity: Europeans' reaction to the establishment of eurobonds," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship & Project "The Future of Fiscal Federalism" SP II 2012-112, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  9. Ecker-Ehrhardt, Matthias, 2010. "Problem perception and public expectations in international institutions: Evidence from a German representative survey," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Global Governance SP IV 2010-302, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  10. Merino, María & Vargas, Delfino, 2013. "How consumers perceive globalization: A multilevel approach," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 431-438.
  11. Martin Edwards, 2009. "Public support for the international economic organizations: Evidence from developing countries," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 185-209, June.
  12. Hayat, Muhammad Azmat & Farvaque, Etienne, 2012. "Public attitudes towards central bank independence: Lessons from the foundation of the ECB," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 512-523.
  13. Ayse Kaya & James T. Walker, 2009. "Individual Attitudes towards the Impact of Multinational Enterprises on Local Businesses," Economics & Management Discussion Papers em-dp2009-02, Henley Business School, Reading University.
  14. Dluhosch, Barbara & Horgos, Daniel, 2012. "Trading Up the Happiness Ladder," Working Paper 115/2012, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg.
  15. Jäkel, Ina C. & Smolka, Marcel, 2011. "Individual attitudes towards trade: Stolper-Samuelson revisited," University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance 11, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.
  16. Hakhverdian, A. & Elsas, E. van & Brug, W. van der & Kuhn, T., 2013. "GINI DP 92: Euroscepticism and education: A longitudinal study of twelve EU member states, 1973-2010," GINI Discussion Papers 92, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
  17. Ecker-Ehrhardt, Matthias, 2013. "Why do they want the UN to decide? A two-step model of public support for UN authority," TranState Working Papers 171, University of Bremen, Collaborative Research Center 597: Transformations of the State.

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