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Understanding Free Trade Attitudes: Evidence from Europe

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  • Braml, Martin
  • Felbermayr, Gabriel

Abstract

Our paper contributes by demonstrating that public opinion on open-market policies is mainly shaped by ideology rather than by rational considerations and economic self-interest. Exploiting data on attitudes towards TTIP, Free Trade, Protectionism, and Globalization from the Eurobarometer, a comprehensive biannual survey across EU citizens, we find that individual preferences towards different trade policies can hardly be explained by variables that typically determine personal advantages of trade liberalization. Nevertheless, rational considerations follow expected patterns but are not overly relevant. Rather, we find trust variables and country-fixed-effects being predominant drivers of individual open-market attitudes. Our data also allow for a spatial analysis at the European NUTS-2 level. Performing a cross-country analysis, we find a causal relation between anti-Americanism and national TTIP approval rates. Macroeconomic performance variables contribute only to a minor extent in shaping regional and national preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Braml, Martin & Felbermayr, Gabriel, 2018. "Understanding Free Trade Attitudes: Evidence from Europe," VfS Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181591, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc18:181591
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gabriel J. Felbermayr, 2020. "Transatlantische Handelspolitik vor, während und nach Trump," Wirtschaftsdienst, Springer;ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 100(12), pages 908-913, December.
    2. Harms, Philipp & Schwab, Jakob, 2020. "Depression of the deprived or eroding enthusiasm of the elites: What has shifted the support for international trade?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    International Political Economy; Free Trade Attitudes; TTIP;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F53 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Agreements and Observance; International Organizations
    • F68 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Policy

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