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Local Trade Shocks and the Nationalist Backlash in Political Attitudes: Panel Data Evidence from Great Britain

Nils D. Steiner () and Philipp Harms
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Nils D. Steiner: Johannes Gutenberg University

No 2014, Working Papers from Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Abstract: Is opposition to globalization rooted in economic transformations caused by international trade? To contribute to the ongoing debate on this question, we propose a “nationalist backlash” thesis and test it with panel data on individual political attitudes. We argue that individuals living in regions suffering from stronger import competition develop more nationalist attitudes as part of a broad counter-reaction to globalization. Our analysis of data from the British Household Panel Study (BHPS) finds that respondents from regions exposed to higher imports from low-wage countries – in particular, China – turn more critical of EU membership and international cooperation. Moreover, on an affective level, their nationalist sentiments increase. In contrast, there is no evidence that regional trade shocks cause economic policy orientations to shift leftwards. We thus document a direct individual-level response to import shocks in the form of rising nationalist attitudes that helps to explain these shocks’ aggregate electoral consequences in terms of increased vote shares for the radical right.

Keywords: China shock; globalization; import competition; international trade; nationalism; political attitudes; EU support; panel data. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C90 D01 D90 D91 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 64 pages
Date: 2020-05-22
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-int, nep-pol and nep-ure
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