What's in a Name? Isolating the Effect of Prejudice on Individual Trade Preferences

36 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2013

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

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

Sabet, Shahrzad, What's in a Name? Isolating the Effect of Prejudice on Individual Trade Preferences (2013). APSA 2013 Annual Meeting Paper, American Political Science Association 2013 Annual Meeting, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2301118

Shahrzad Sabet (Contact Author)

Princeton University ( email )

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

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