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Why are some people (and countries) more protectionist than others?

We analyze two cross-country data sets that contain information on attitudes toward trade as well as a broad range of socio-demographic and other indicators. We find that pro-trade preferences are significantly and robustly correlated with an individual's level of human capital, in the manner predicted by the factor endowments model. Preferences over trade are also correlated with the trade exposure of the sector in which an individual is employed: individuals in nontraded sectors tend to be the most pro-trade, while individuals in sectors with a revealed comparative disadvantage are the most protectionist. Third, an individual's relative economic status has a very strong positive association with pro-trade attitudes. Finally, non-economic determinants, in the form of values, identities, and attachments, play an important role in explaining the variation in preferences over trade. High degrees of neighborhood attachment and nationalism/patriotism are associated with protectionist tendencies.

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Paper provided by Georgetown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number gueconwpa~05-05-11.

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Date of creation: 11 May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~05-05-11
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Fax: 202-687-6102
Web page: http://econ.georgetown.edu/
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Order Information: Postal: Roger Lagunoff Professor of Economics Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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  1. Mayer, Wolfgang, 1984. "Endogenous Tariff Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 970-85, December.
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  12. Card, David, 1996. "The Effect of Unions on the Structure of Wages: A Longitudinal Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(4), pages 957-79, July.
  13. Robert E. Baldwin & Christopher S. Magee, 1998. "Is Trade Policy for Sale? Congressional Voting on Recent Trade Bills," NBER Working Papers 6376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Irwin, Douglas A, 1994. "The Political Economy of Free Trade: Voting in the British General Election of 1906," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(1), pages 75-108, April.
  15. Douglas A. Irwin, 1995. "Industry or Class Cleavages over Trade Policy? Evidence from the BritishGeneral Election of 1923," NBER Working Papers 5170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. K. H. O'Rourke & R. Sinnott, 2001. "The Determinants of Individual Trade Policy Preferences: International Survey Evidence," CEG Working Papers 20016, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  17. Eugene Beaulieu & Michael Benarroch & James D. Gaisford, 2011. "Intra‚Äźindustry Trade Liberalization: Why Skilled Workers are More Likely to Support Free Trade," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 579-594, 08.
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  19. Midford, Paul, 1993. "International trade and domestic politics: improving on Rogowski's model of political alignments," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(04), pages 535-564, September.
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