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New Evidence on the Formation of Trade Policy Preferences

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  • Bruce Blonigen

Abstract

This paper revisits the issue of people's preferences for international trade protection examining survey data from the American National Election Studies. I first show that both an individual's skills and the international trade characteristics of their employment industry affects their trade policy preferences, in contrast to previous analysis using these data. Second, I document that many people do not feel informed enough to state a preference on trade protection, which is inconsistent with assumptions of standard political economy models. I examine the factors that correlate with being uninformed, and show that inferences from actual trade policy outcomes can be incorrect if one does not account for this uninformed group. Finally, I examine and find that individuals' retirement decisions have systematic effects on both their choice to be informed and their trade policy preferences. This highlights that there are significant life-cycle implications to trade policy preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce Blonigen, 2008. "New Evidence on the Formation of Trade Policy Preferences," NBER Working Papers 14627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14627
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Valentino Larcinese, 2009. "Information Acquisition, Ideology and Turnout: Theory and Evidence From Britain," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 21(2), pages 237-276, April.
    2. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1415-1451.
    3. Eugene Beaulieu, 2002. "Factor or Industry Cleavages in Trade Policy? An Empirical Analysis of the Stolper-Samuelson Theorem," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 99-131, July.
    4. Mayda, Anna Maria & Rodrik, Dani, 2005. "Why are some people (and countries) more protectionist than others?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1393-1430, August.
    5. Valentino Larcinese, 2003. "The Instrumental Voter Goes to the News-Agent: Demand for Information, Election Closeness, and the Media," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 579.03, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    6. William H. Kaempfer & Stephen V. Marks, 1993. "The Expected Effects of Trade Liberalisation: Evidence from US Congressional Action on Fast-Track Authority," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(6), pages 725-740, November.
    7. Arnaud Costinot & Jonathan Vogel, 2010. "Matching and Inequality in the World Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(4), pages 747-786, August.
    8. Edward J. Balistreri, 1997. "The Performance of the Heckscher-Ohlin-Vanek Model in Predicting Endogenous Policy Forces at the Individual Level," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-17, February.
    9. Timothy Besley & Andrea Prat, 2006. "Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 720-736, June.
    10. Feddersen, Timothy J & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1996. "The Swing Voter's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 408-424, June.
    11. Scheve, Kenneth F. & Slaughter, Matthew J., 2001. "What determines individual trade-policy preferences?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 267-292, August.
    12. Beaulieu, Eugene, 2002. "The Stolper-Samuelson Theorem Faces Congress," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(2), pages 343-360, May.
    13. 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.
    14. Rodrik, Dani, 1995. "Political economy of trade policy," Handbook of International Economics,in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1457-1494 Elsevier.
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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. Marcus Noland, 2009. "United States Economic Policy Toward Asia," Economics Study Area Working Papers 103, East-West Center, Economics Study Area.
    3. Bruce A., Blonigen, 2011. "Revisiting the evidence on trade policy preferences," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 129-135, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions

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