Public Support for TTIP in EU Countries: The Correlates of Trade Policy Preferences in a Salient Case
36 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2016 Last revised: 23 Sep 2016
Date Written: January 20, 2016
Attitudes towards international economic integration are usually measured via survey questions on preferences for free trade in general, arguably in contexts of low salience of international economic integration in the public mind. Drawing on three recent rounds of Eurobarometer surveys that contain information on citizens’ attitudes towards a free trade and investment agreement between the EU and the USA, this paper seizes the opportunity to re-examine individual-level preferences towards international economic integration with regard to a specific real-world case of relatively high political salience, i.e. TTIP. While past research has explained preferences towards trade primarily via models of economic self-interest and/or socio-cultural attitudes towards internationalization, my findings point to a more complex picture. In line with an economic perspective, perceptions of the economic benefits of economic globalization in general strongly predict support for TTIP. Yet, differences at the country-level in support for TTIP are hard to account for with economic explanations. Looking beyond the two familiar sets of explanations, I find that political orientations towards the European Union and the functioning of national democracy are strong and consistent predictors of individuals’ stances towards TTIP. Moreover, my findings suggest that TTIP divides individuals and societies with different issue and value priorities and that general attitudes towards the US in a country play a role.
Keywords: trade policy, public opinion, TTIP, economic integration, trade and investment agreement, EU attitudes
JEL Classification: F15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation