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Explaining protectionism support: the role of economic factors


  • Juliette Milgram

    (Universidad de Granada)

  • Máximo Rossi

    (Universidad de la República Uruguay Constituyente)

  • Natalia Melgar

    (Universidad de la República Uruguay Constituyente)


In this paper, we investigate some factors shaping individual support for protectionism that have not been studied previously. We examine a heterogeneous sample of thirty countries which includes both small and large and developed and developing countries using data from the 2003 International Social Survey Program (ISSP). We confirm the influence of social status, relative income, values and attachments on preferences for trade policies and the fact that skilled people are also more likely to be pro-trade. We also verify previous findings concerning the fact that individual¿s opinions match with how their revenue could be affected in the medium or long term by trade liberalization. We highlight other important factors influencing public opinion towards protectionism: individual support for protectionism is also affected by the macroeconomic context and size of their country of residence. Este trabajo analiza cuales son los factores que explican el apoyo de los individuos a políticas proteccionistas incluyendo características tanto del individuo como de su país de residencia, que no han sido incluidos en trabajos previos. Para ello, se utiliza una muestra heterogénea de treinta países que incluye economías de distinto tamaño, países desarrollados y en vías de desarrollo. La base de datos corresponde a la encuesta realizada en el año 2003 por la red International Social Survey Program (ISSP). Se confirma que el status social, el ingreso relativo, los valores y los apegos juegan un rol significativo en la determinación de las preferencias por el libre comercio. En segundo lugar, se constata que los individuos con mayores niveles de educación tienden a preferir el libre comercio. Además, se verifica que las opiniones de los individuos son determinadas por la percepción de cómo afecta la liberalización comercial a su ingreso en el medio y largo plazo. Por ultimo, se destacan factores adicionales relevantes en la determinación de las actitudes individuales frente al proteccionismo: el contexto macroeconómico y el tamaño relativo del país de residencia.

Suggested Citation

  • Juliette Milgram & Máximo Rossi & Natalia Melgar, 2009. "Explaining protectionism support: the role of economic factors," Working Papers. Serie EC 2009-06, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  • Handle: RePEc:ivi:wpasec:2009-06

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    Cited by:

    1. Russell Golman & George Loewenstein & Karl Ove Moene & Luca Zarri, 2016. "The Preference for Belief Consonance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 165-188, Summer.

    More about this item


    Preferencias; apoyo al proteccionismo; libre comercio; políticas comerciales; mercantilismo; nacionalismo Preferences; protectionism support; free trade; trade policies; mercantilist; nationalism.;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations

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