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    « What did Americans think about trade at the start of December? | Main | More Info on Presidential Candidates' Trade Positions »


    Peter Gallagher

    Hi Ben,

    Opinion surveys like this produce strange, apparently inconsistent, results across related topics in a domain. The 'inconsistency' that strikes me most strongly is in the domain of trade impacts on domestic employment. Although 60% of Americans are in favor of 'freer trade', almost the same proportion say that trade leads to more job losses than job creation.

    What implication can we draw from comparing the answers to these two questions? That a majority of respondents are pretty relaxed about job losses and prefer freer trade *despite* the job losses? I suspect that this is *not* the answer, because the same 60% proportion (in both the US and Europe) identifies outsourcing as a principle cause of job losses in the economy but only 12% attribute job losses to trade. Now you and I might say: well, outsourcing IS a form of trade; an import of services. But it appears that the survey respondents, when given a choice of factors distinguish outsourcing and trade (in some way that is not clear to me).

    I think that if we could go behind this response we'd find that the 60% who favored 'freer trade' might be reduced if they recognized that outsourcing takes place through a trade vector.


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