Natural Trading Partners? A Public Opinion Perspective on Preferential Trade Agreements
23 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2013
Date Written: December 10, 2013
While global trade talks have been making very little progress in recent years, the number of preferential trade agreements (PTAs) has grown rapidly, and many of these institutions are reaching much deeper into the domestic political arena than traditional multilateral trade liberalization. Various macro-level theoretical arguments have sought to explain this trend. In this chapter, we examine public opinion with respect to key features of the "new regionalism". In particular, we are interested in what characteristics are making countries more (or less) attractive as preferential trading partners from the viewpoint of citizens (voters). We hypothesize that voters in democratic countries tend to favor PTAs with states that are geographically closer, culturally similar, of larger economic size, democratic, and have high environmental and labor rights standards. Using a conjoint experiment with a sample of U.S. respondents we find strong support for most of these arguments.
Keywords: Preferential Trade Agreements, Trade Liberalization, Survey Experiments, Conjoint Analysis
JEL Classification: C9, F1, P16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation