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The Wrong Winners: Anti-Corporate Animus and Attitudes Towards Trade

May 17, 2024

Congratulations to UC Merced Political Science assistant professor Anil Menon with Iain Osgood (Associate Professor, University of Michigan) on the publication of their new article The Wrong Winners: Anti-Corporate Animus and Attitudes Towards Trade in British Journal of Political Science

Globalization creates winners and losers, and recent research emphasizes that large corporations are among the biggest beneficiaries of trade while smaller firms may be harmed. How do these redistributive effects impact trade attitudes? Because a growing share of Americans hold highly unfavourable views of big corporations, we argue that the belief that large firms win from trade will provoke hostility towards trade and globalization. To test this theory, we show experimentally that informing people that large corporations benefit from trade makes them markedly more hostile towards trade compared to a treatment emphasizing that firms in exporting industries benefit. Using subgroup and mediation analysis, we find that anti-corporate sentiment drives this effect, particularly concern about corporations’ power in society. Our findings illustrate how distributive consequences and attitudes towards the winners and losers from policy change interact to shape public opinion on economic policy.

Read more HERE.