What's in a Name? Isolating the Effect of Prejudice on Individual Trade Preferences
36 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2013
Date Written: 2013
Does prejudice have an independent causal effect on trade opinion? For over a decade, students of public opinion have consistently observed a strong statistical association between symbolic predispositions such as prejudice and nationalism, on the one hand, and opposition to international trade, on the other. But as multiple scholars have correctly pointed out, this correlation — however strong and consistent — does not shed light on the important question of causation. To cleanly isolate the causal effect of prejudice on trade preferences, this study employs a creative survey experiment fielded on a nationally representative sample of Americans. I find that among prejudiced Americans, “cultural distance” from trading partners more than doubles the level of opposition to international trade. This paper presents the first unequivocal evidence that prejudice causes an increase in protectionism, and that this causal effect is very large.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation