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Freedom fries

  • Guy Michaels
  • Xiaojia Zhi

Do firms choose inputs that minimize their cost of production, ignoring the attitudes of their owners and employees? We examine this question using an episode of worsening relations between the US and France: from February 2002 to March 2003, France's favorability rating in US public opinion polls fell from 83 percent to 35 percent. Very negative attitudes towards France became common even among college educated Americans with high levels of income, so they were likely prevalent among managers. Using data from 1999-2005, we find that the worsening relations reduced US imports from France by about 15 percent and US exports to France by about 8 percent, compared to other Eurozone or OECD countries. This decline was due in large part to a fall in France's share of the quantity of inputs traded between the Eurozone and the US; this decline is significant even after we control for changes in the product composition of trade flows. We also find that the decline in trade w as accompanied by a similar drop in both business trips and tourist visitations of US residents to France compared to Western Europe. Taken together, our findings suggest that competition cannot eliminate the effect of attitudes on firms' choice of inputs.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/51598/
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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 51598.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:51598
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  1. Elhanan Helpman & Marc Melitz & Yona Rubinstein, 2007. "Estimating Trade Flows: Trading Partners and Trading Volumes," NBER Working Papers 12927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Fershtman, C. & Gneezy, U., 2000. "Discrimination in a Segmented Society: an Experimental Approach," Papers 2000-9, Tel Aviv.
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  11. Michaels, Guy & Zhi, Xiaojia, 2007. "Freedom Fries," CEPR Discussion Papers 6380, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  13. Ashenfelter, Orley & Ciccarella, Stephen & Shatz, Howard J., 2007. "French Wine and the U.S. Boycott of 2003: Does Politics Really Affect Commerce?," Journal of Wine Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(01), pages 55-74, March.
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  17. Ilyana Kuziemko & Eric Werker, 2006. "How Much Is a Seat on the Security Council Worth? Foreign Aid and Bribery at the United Nations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(5), pages 905-930, October.
  18. Petra Moser, 2008. "An Empirical Test of Taste-based Discrimination Changes in Ethnic Preferences and their Effect on Admissions to the NYSE during World War I," NBER Working Papers 14003, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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