What Do Voters Learn from Foreign News? Emulation, Backlash, and Public Support for Trade Agreements

68 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2020 Last revised: 20 Aug 2022

See all articles by Chun-Fang Chiang

Chun-Fang Chiang

National Taiwan University - Department of Economics

Jason Kuo

National Taiwan University -- Department of Political Science

Megumi Naoi

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science

Jin-Tan Liu

National Taiwan University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2020

Abstract

The paper demonstrates voter-based mechanisms underlying policy emulation across countries. We argue that exposure to news about foreign government policies and their effect can change policy preferences of citizens through emulation and backlash against it. These heterogeneous responses arise due to citizens’ divergent predispositions about a foreign country being their peer. We test this argument with coordinated survey experiments in Japan and Taiwan, which randomly assigned news reporting on the South Korea-China trade agreement and solicited support for their government signing an agreement with China. The results suggest that exposure to the news decreases opposition to a trade agreement with China by 6 percentage points in Taiwan (“emulation”) and increases opposition around 8 percentage points in Japan (“backlash”). The results further suggest respondents’ predispositions about peer countries account for the heterogeneity. Our findings caution the optimism about policy convergence across countries as technology lowers the cost of acquiring information.

Suggested Citation

Chiang, Chun-Fang and Kuo, Jason and Naoi, Megumi and Liu, Jin-Tan, What Do Voters Learn from Foreign News? Emulation, Backlash, and Public Support for Trade Agreements (July 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27497, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3649861

Chun-Fang Chiang (Contact Author)

National Taiwan University - Department of Economics ( email )

21 Hsiu Chow Rd
Taipei, 10020
Taiwan

Jason Kuo

National Taiwan University -- Department of Political Science ( email )

1 Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road
Taipei 106, 106
Taiwan
233668333 (Phone)

Megumi Naoi

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States

Jin-Tan Liu

National Taiwan University ( email )

1 Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road
Taipei 106, 106
Taiwan

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
9
Abstract Views
206
PlumX Metrics