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Economic Interests and Public Support for American Global Activism


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  • Fordham, Benjamin O.
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    This research note evaluates the effect of economic interests on public support for American global activism. Those who were relatively well-positioned to benefit economically from the American-backed postwar international order, mainly those with better access to human and financial capital, or who hailed from relatively export-oriented parts of the country, should be more likely to support it. An analysis of American National Election Study data on support for isolationism between 1956 and 2000 supports this line of argument. Individual self-interest is probably the most important pathway through which the international economy has influenced public opinion. However, the aggregate effects of exports and imports on respondents home states have also made a difference. The effects of these economic interests are substantively large and fairly consistent over time.A previous version of this work was presented to the 2006 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association. I would like to thank Michael A. Bailey, Larry Bartels, Matthew Baum, Adam Berinsky, and Kenneth Schultz for their comments. Any remaining errors and omissions are solely the responsibility of the author.

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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 62 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 01 (January)
    Pages: 163-182

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    Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:62:y:2008:i:01:p:163-182_08

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