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Salvation by good works? Offshoring, corporate philanthropy, and public attitudes toward trade policy

Andrew Kerner and Jane L. Sumner

Economics and Politics, 2020, vol. 32, issue 1, 1-27

Abstract: American consumers are routinely reminded of the fact that the products sold by American companies are often manufactured abroad. We use a survey‐based priming experiment to explore whether and when those reminders depress Americans’ enthusiasm for free trade. We consider in particular that offshoring's effects on policy preferences may be linked to negative perceptions of the offshoring firm, such that portraying the offshoring firm in a positive light might mitigate that effect. We also consider that offshoring's effect may be exaggerated among individuals whose position in the labor market makes them especially sensitive to trade‐related labor market disruption. Our experiment suggests support for both propositions.

Date: 2020
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