The Racialization of International Trade
40 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2020
Date Written: August 9, 2020
Despite their less vulnerable economic status, white individuals’ attitudes toward overseas trade in the U.S. may have become more protectionist than those of economically disadvantaged minorities. We present results from five different studies examining two different ways in which trade may have become racialized. First, we examine the extent to which a person’s racial identity is associated with levels of trade support. Second, we examine whether the predominant racial identity of a potential trading partner country influences people’s willingness to trade with that country. Using various surveys and multiple survey-experiments conducted over the past twelve years, we find that white individuals have become less supportive of trade than minorities, and that whites are more likely than minorities to favor trade with highly similar countries.
We suggest that minority support for trade is due to four well-documented differences in the psychological predispositions of whites and minorities in the United States. Minorities have lower levels of racial prejudice, are lower in social dominance, and express less nationalism than whites. At the same time, there is evidence of rising ingroup racial consciousness among whites. Each of these characteristics has been independently linked to trade support in a direction encouraging greater support for trade among minorities. As the U.S. grows ever closer to becoming a “majority minority” nation, the racialization of trade attitudes may stimulate shifts in the likely future of America’s trade relationships.
Keywords: Trade, Globalization, Public Opinion, Intergroup Relations, Racial Identity
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