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Who Supports Free Trade in Latin America?


  • Eugene Beaulieu
  • Ravindra A. Yatawara
  • Wei Guo Wang


This paper examines individual trade policy preferences across 17 countries in Latin America. The focus is on whether skilled or unskilled workers are more likely to support liberalised trade and on whether country characteristics, such as factor endowments, alter the preferences of skilled and unskilled workers. Based on the standard Heckscher-Ohlin model and the Stolper-Samuelson theorem, wage inequality in developing countries will decrease under free trade and unskilled workers will benefit. We find that on average skilled workers are more likely than unskilled workers to support free trade in Latin American countries. Separate country regressions reveal that this pattern is only statistically significant in 8 out of 17 Latin American countries. However, there are no countries in our sample in which unskilled workers are statistically more likely to support free trade than skilled workers, not even in the lowest skill-endowed country in the sample. We also find that people from Latin American countries with higher GDP, faster growth, more cropland and a longer period of time since reform were more likely on average to support free trade. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2005.

Suggested Citation

  • Eugene Beaulieu & Ravindra A. Yatawara & Wei Guo Wang, 2005. "Who Supports Free Trade in Latin America?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(7), pages 941-958, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:28:y:2005:i:7:p:941-958

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Trela, Irene & Whalley, John, 1990. "Global Effects of Developed Country Trade Restrictions on Textiles and Apparel," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(403), pages 1190-1205, December.
    2. Bark, Taeho & de Melo, Jaime, 1988. "Export Quota Allocations, Export Earnings, and Market Diversification," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 2(3), pages 341-348, September.
    3. Krishna, Kala & Erzan, Refik & Tan, Ling Hui, 1994. "Rent Sharing in the Multi-fibre Arrangement: Theory and Evidence from U.S. Apparel Imports from Hong Kong," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(1), pages 62-73, February.
    4. Faini, Riccardo & Heimler, Alberto, 1991. "The Quality of Production of Textiles and Clothing and the Completion of the Internal Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 508, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Faini, Riccardo & de Melo, Jaime & Takacs, Wendy, 1992. "The effects of EC-92 on the multi-fibre arrangement," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(2-3), pages 527-538, April.
    6. Erzan, Refik & Goto, Junichi & Holmes, Paula, 1989. "Effects of the multifibre arrangement on developing countries'trade : an empirical investigation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 297, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bernauer, Thomas & Spilker, Gabriele & Umaña, Víctor, 2014. "Different countries same partners: Experimental Evidence on PTA Partner Country Choice from Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Vietnam," Papers 739, World Trade Institute.
    2. Drope Jeffrey & Chowdhury Abdur, 2014. "The puzzle of heterogeneity in support for free trade," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 16(3), pages 1-27, October.
    3. Jeffrey Drope & Abdur Chowdhury, 2014. "Economic (In)Security and Gender Differences in Trade Policy Attitudes," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp1067, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    4. Natalia Melgar & Juliette Milgram & Máximo Rossi, 2009. "The role of macroeconomic performance in individual’s attitudes towards protectionism," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0809, Department of Economics - dECON.
    5. Ina Jäkel & Marcel Smolka, 2013. "Individual Attitudes Towards Trade: Stolper-Samuelson Revisited," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 731-761, September.
    6. Chun-Fang Chiang & Jin-Tan Liu & Tsai-Wei Wen, 2013. "Individual Preferences for Trade Partners in Taiwan," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(1), pages 91-109, March.

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