The Green Side of Protectionism: Environmental Concerns and Three Facets of Trade Policy Preferences

Review of International Political Economy (2012), Vol. 19 (5), 837-866

30 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2010 Last revised: 13 Jun 2014

Michael M. Bechtel

Washington University in Saint Louis

Thomas Bernauer

ETH Zurich

Reto Meyer

ETH Zürich

Date Written: December 2, 2010

Abstract

A large literature in international political economy views individuals’ trade policy preferences as a function of the income effects of economic openness. We argue that the expected environmental consequences of free trade play a noteworthy and underappreciated role for protectionist attitudes that has not been noted so far. We use unique Swiss survey data that contains measures of individuals’ environmental concerns and different aspects of trade policy preferences to examine whether those who are more concerned about the environment also hold more protectionist trade policy preferences. Our results support this expectation. Individuals who are more concerned about the environment tend to think that globalization has more negative than positive effects, more strongly support jobs-related protectionism, and place more emphasis on aspects that go beyond price and quality when evaluating foreign products. Our results suggest that also the expected environmental consequences of free trade matter for trade policy preferences and not just the potential effects on the domestic wage distribution.

Keywords: International trade, trade policy preferences, environment, protectionism, environmental attitudes, individual data

Suggested Citation

Bechtel, Michael M. and Bernauer, Thomas and Meyer, Reto, The Green Side of Protectionism: Environmental Concerns and Three Facets of Trade Policy Preferences (December 2, 2010). Review of International Political Economy (2012), Vol. 19 (5), 837-866. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1718959

Michael M. Bechtel (Contact Author)

Washington University in Saint Louis ( email )

Campus Box 1063
One Brookings Drive
Saint Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States

Thomas Bernauer

ETH Zurich ( email )

Center for Comparative and International Studies
Building IFW, office 45.1, Haldeneggsteig 4
Zurich 8092, 8092
Switzerland
+41 44 632 6466 (Phone)
+41 44 632 1289 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ib.ethz.ch

Reto Meyer

ETH Zürich ( email )

CLU D6
Clausiusstrasse 50
Zurich, 8092
Switzerland

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