Globalisation, Government Popularity and the Great Skills Divide
52 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2018 Last revised: 5 Jun 2018
Date Written: May 24, 2018
How does international trade affect the popularity of government and leaders? Using data covering 118 countries and nearly 450,000 individuals, we show that attitudes towards globalisation depend on both individuals’ skill levels and the skill intensity of the country’s exports and imports. Our results reveal that changes in a country’s trade structure affect the approval of political leaders and governments. For example, highly skilled individuals approve of their leader and government more when high-skill-intensive exports increase, but approve of them less when corresponding imports rise. And contrary to conventional wisdom, we find no evidence that unskilled workers oppose imports and blame their leaders for failing to protect markets – rather the reverse.
Keywords: International trade; political approval; political polarisation; skill intensity of trade
JEL Classification: D72, F14, G02, P16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation