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New Evidence on the Formation of Trade Policy Preferences

  • Bruce Blonigen

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14627.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14627.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14627
Note: ITI
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  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2000. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 28, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  4. 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, 07.
  5. 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.
  6. Jonathan Vogel & Arnaud Costinot, 2008. "Matching and Inequality in the World Economy," 2008 Meeting Papers 879, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. 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.
  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. Valentino Larcinese, 2006. "Information acquisition, ideology and turnout: theory and evidence from Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3606, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. Anna Maria Mayda & Dani Rodrik, 2001. "Why Are Some People (and Countries) More Protectionist Than Others?," NBER Working Papers 8461, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Timothy J. Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1995. "The Swing Voter's Curse," Discussion Papers 1064, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  12. Timothy Besley & Andrea Prat, 2005. "Handcuffs for the Grabbing Hand? Media Capture and Government Accountability," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 07, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  13. Emily Blanchard & Gerald Willmann, 2013. "Trade, Education, and the Shrinking Middle Class," CESifo Working Paper Series 4141, CESifo Group Munich.
  14. Beaulieu, Eugene, 2002. "The Stolper-Samuelson Theorem Faces Congress," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(2), pages 343-60, May.
  15. 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.
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