Trade Attitudes in Latin America: Evidence from a Multi-Country Survey Experiment
54 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2019
Date Written: September 4, 2019
This paper examines individual-level support for trade, relates it to beliefs about trade, and measures its sensitivity to positive and negative framing. The data comes from the 2018 Latinobarometro survey of eighteen countries, in which we embed a survey experiment to study framing effects. We find that respondents are generally favorable to increased trade with other countries, based on perceived positive impacts on employment and consumption. Support for trade is unaffected by consumption benefits framing, but is highly sensitive downward to employment loss framing. Positive framing does shift upward respondent beliefs that trade reduces consumption prices, but also raises concerns about low wages. Negative framing substantially weakens the prevailing beliefs that trade is associated with higher employment, and there is no offsetting effect on the consumption side. Trade attitudes reflect behavioral patterns but also display variation across education levels consistent with traditional skill-based theories of trade.
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