IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Comparative Legitimacy of Arms Exports - A Conjoint Experiment in Germany and France


  • Rudolph, Lukas

    (LMU Munich)

  • Freitag, Markus
  • Thurner, Paul


Despite fierce politicization and heated public debates in arms-exporting democracies, systematic research on mass public preferences on arms trade is lacking. Combining political economy models of arms trade with the literatures on trade preferences and foreign policy attitudes, we argue that citizens trade off economic incentives, strategic interests and moral considerations when assessing arms trade and that deeply rooted `strategic cultures’ lead to differences in citizen preferences between countries. To derive the implicit weighting of different features of arms trade, we draw on population-representative conjoint survey experiments (N=6,617), fielded in November/December 2020 in two of the global top-5 exporting countries of major arms: Germany and France. We find that both country populations show structured preferences towards arms exports which predominantly center around their moral repercussions. However, German respondents place more weight on moral consequences and, compared to French respondents, a larger share is in fundamental opposition. We conclude that these diverging preferences potentially conflict with plans of a common European defense and security policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Rudolph, Lukas & Freitag, Markus & Thurner, Paul, 2021. "The Comparative Legitimacy of Arms Exports - A Conjoint Experiment in Germany and France," SocArXiv r73pv, Center for Open Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:osf:socarx:r73pv
    DOI: 10.31219/

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ansolabehere, Stephen & Schaffner, Brian F., 2014. "Does Survey Mode Still Matter? Findings from a 2010 Multi-Mode Comparison," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(3), pages 285-303, July.
    2. Dani Rodrik, 2018. "Populism and the economics of globalization," Journal of International Business Policy, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 1(1), pages 12-33, June.
    3. Alberto Abadie & Susan Athey & Guido W Imbens & Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2023. "When Should You Adjust Standard Errors for Clustering?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 138(1), pages 1-35.
    4. Michael M. Bechtel & Jens Hainmueller & Yotam Margalit, 2014. "Preferences for International Redistribution: The Divide over the Eurozone Bailouts," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 58(4), pages 835-856, October.
    5. Lena Maria Schaffer & Gabriele Spilker, 2019. "Self-interest versus sociotropic considerations: an information-based perspective to understanding individuals’ trade preferences," Review of International Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(6), pages 1266-1292, November.
    6. Sarah Kreps & Stephen Roblin, 2019. "Treatment format and external validity in international relations experiments," International Interactions, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(3), pages 576-594, May.
    7. Unknown, 2014. "Media Coverage 2014," 2014: Ethics, Efficiency and Food Security: Feeding the 9 Billion, Well, 26-28 August 2014 225573, Crawford Fund.
    8. Smith, Scott M. & Roster, Catherine A. & Golden, Linda L. & Albaum, Gerald S., 2016. "A multi-group analysis of online survey respondent data quality: Comparing a regular USA consumer panel to MTurk samples," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(8), pages 3139-3148.
    9. Hays, Jude C. & Ehrlich, Sean D. & Peinhardt, Clint, 2005. "Government Spending and Public Support for Trade in the OECD: An Empirical Test of the Embedded Liberalism Thesis," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(2), pages 473-494, April.
    10. Hainmueller, Jens & Hopkins, Daniel J. & Yamamoto, Teppei, 2014. "Causal Inference in Conjoint Analysis: Understanding Multidimensional Choices via Stated Preference Experiments," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 1-30, January.
    11. Heinrich, Tobias & Kobayashi, Yoshiharu & Bryant, Kristin A., 2016. "Public Opinion and Foreign Aid Cuts in Economic Crises," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 66-79.
    12. Gabriele Spilker & Thomas Bernauer & Víctor Umaña, 2018. "What Kinds of Trade Liberalization Agreements Do People in Developing Countries Want?," International Interactions, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(3), pages 510-536, May.
    13. Joshua D. Kertzer & Thomas Zeitzoff, 2017. "A Bottom‐Up Theory of Public Opinion about Foreign Policy," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 61(3), pages 543-558, July.
    14. Garcia-Alonso, Maria D.C. & Levine, Paul, 2007. "Arms Trade and Arms Races: A Strategic Analysis," Handbook of Defense Economics, in: Keith Hartley & Todd Sandler (ed.), Handbook of Defense Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 29, pages 941-971, Elsevier.
    15. Heinrich, Tobias & Kobayashi, Yoshiharu, 2020. "How Do People Evaluate Foreign Aid To ‘Nasty’ Regimes?," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(1), pages 103-127, January.
    16. Bechtel, Michael M. & Genovese, Federica & Scheve, Kenneth F., 2019. "Interests, Norms and Support for the Provision of Global Public Goods: The Case of Climate Co-operation," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(4), pages 1333-1355, October.
    17. Leeper, Thomas J. & Hobolt, Sara & Tilley, James, 2020. "Measuring subgroup preferences in conjoint experiments," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 100944, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    18. Putnam, Robert D., 1988. "Diplomacy and domestic politics: the logic of two-level games," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(3), pages 427-460, July.
    19. Michael Bechtel & Thomas Bernauer & Reto Meyer, 2012. "The green side of protectionism: Environmental concerns and three facets of trade policy preferences," Review of International Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(5), pages 837-866.
    20. Fearon, James D., 1994. "Domestic Political Audiences and the Escalation of International Disputes," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 88(3), pages 577-592, September.
    21. Hurwitz, Jon & Peffley, Mark, 1987. "How are Foreign Policy Attitudes Structured? A Hierarchical Model," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 81(4), pages 1099-1120, December.
    22. Tomz, Michael R. & Weeks, Jessica L. P., 2013. "Public Opinion and the Democratic Peace," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 107(4), pages 849-865, November.
    23. Tomz, Michael, 2007. "Domestic Audience Costs in International Relations: An Experimental Approach," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(4), pages 821-840, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Philipp Harms & Nils D. Steiner, 2023. "Attitudes towards Globalization: A Survey," Working Papers 2305, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
    2. Henrik Serup Christensen & Lauri Rapeli, 2021. "Immediate rewards or delayed gratification? A conjoint survey experiment of the public’s policy preferences," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 54(1), pages 63-94, March.
    3. Janne Tukiainen & Sebastian Blesse & Albrecht Bohne & Leonardo M. Giuffrida & Jan Jäässkeläinen & Ari Luukinen & Antti Sieppi, 2021. "What Are the Priorities of Bureaucrats? Evidence from Conjoint Experiments with Procurement Officials," EconPol Working Paper 63, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    4. Barbara Dluhosch & Nikolai Ziegler, 2011. "The paradox of weakness in the politics of trade integration," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 325-354, December.
    5. Aaron R Kaufman, 2020. "Implementing novel, flexible, and powerful survey designs in R Shiny," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(4), pages 1-15, April.
    6. Linda Alvarez & Constantine Boussalis & Jennifer L. Merolla & Caryn A. Peiffer, 2018. "Love thy neighbour: Social identity and public support for humanitarian aid," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 36(S2), pages 935-953, September.
    7. Qian Liu & Yingying Wang & Ning Kang, 2023. "Analyzing the Influence of BRI Foreign Direct Investment on Governance: Perspective from Southeast Asian Countries," Global Journal of Emerging Market Economies, Emerging Markets Forum, vol. 15(2), pages 289-305, May.
    8. Nils D Steiner, 2018. "Attitudes towards the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in the European Union: The treaty partner heuristic and issue attention," European Union Politics, , vol. 19(2), pages 255-277, June.
    9. Brian Burgoon & Theresa Kuhn & Francesco Nicoli & Frank Vandenbroucke, 2022. "Unemployment risk-sharing in the EU: How policy design influences citizen support for European unemployment policy," European Union Politics, , vol. 23(2), pages 282-308, June.
    10. Xiaojun Li & Dingding Chen, 2021. "Public opinion, international reputation, and audience costs in an authoritarian regime," Conflict Management and Peace Science, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 38(5), pages 543-560, September.
    11. David H. Bearce & Thomas R. Cook, 2018. "The first image reversed: IGO signals and mass political attitudes," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 595-619, December.
    12. 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.
    13. Elias Tsakas & Nikolas Tsakas & Dimitrios Xefteris, 2021. "Resisting persuasion," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 72(3), pages 723-742, October.
    14. Christopher Gelpi, 2017. "Democracies in Conflict," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 61(9), pages 1925-1949, October.
    15. Seiki Tanaka, 2016. "The microfoundations of territorial disputes: Evidence from a survey experiment in Japan," Conflict Management and Peace Science, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 33(5), pages 516-538, November.
    16. Patrick T. Brandt & Michael Colaresi & John R. Freeman, 2008. "The Dynamics of Reciprocity, Accountability, and Credibility," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 52(3), pages 343-374, June.
    17. Rana, Arslan Tariq & Kebewar, Mazen, 2014. "The Political Economy of FDI flows into Developing Countries: Does the depth of International Trade Agreements Matter?," EconStor Preprints 91501, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    18. E. Keith Smith & Dennis Kolcava & Thomas Bernauer, 2024. "Stringent sustainability regulations for global supply chains are supported across middle-income democracies," Nature Communications, Nature, vol. 15(1), pages 1-12, December.
    19. Vrânceanu, Alina & Dinas, Elias & Heidland, Tobias & Ruhs, Martin, 2023. "The European refugee crisis and public support for the externalisation of migration management," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 279441, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
    20. John Tyson Chatagnier, 2015. "Conflict bargaining as a signal to third parties," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 27(2), pages 237-268, April.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:osf:socarx:r73pv. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: OSF (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.