Pro-Trade Nationalists and Protectionist Xenophobes? The Conditional Effects of Psychological Factors on Trade Attitudes. 2023. Review of International Political Economy, 30:4, 1307-1333. Ungated PDF
To what extent do psychological factors determine individuals’ support for trade? Previous studies find that predispositions such as nationalism, patriotism, xenophobia, and isolationism predict opposition to imports. However, it is unclear whether this relationship holds when trade is framed in ways other than imports and for international institutions (IIs) governing trade between countries. In this study, I use a cross-national dataset to test whether the relationship between psychological factors and trade/II attitudes is conditional on the frame used (imports vs. consumer choice vs. neutral), the dimension of trade (principle of free trade vs. IIs governing trade), and the level of political integration of trade-related IIs (deep vs. shallow). Controlling for self-interest factors and other covariates, I find that, while xenophobia consistently predicts protectionism regardless of the frame and dimension, and patriotism mostly predicts trade/II support, the effect of nationalism and isolationism highly depends on the frame used. Moreover, the negative effect of xenophobia and isolationism on support for trade-related IIs increases as they become deeper. The findings in this study call for a greater exploration on how the interaction between elite framing and psychological predispositions affects attitudes towards trade and other globalization issues.
Smart Cities and Youth Unemployment: Mobile Technology as a Link Between Labor Supply and Demand.
[In Spanish] 2018. Ciudad Estadística, 1:1, 66-90. Link to PDF
In the last few years, the notion of smart city has become one of the most widely used concepts when it comes to ranking the economic and social development of big metropolitan areas. Moreover, the revolution brought about by the so-called Internet of Things has prompted global cities to compete on how well they use their information systems for the efficient provision of public services focused on the citizen/user. On this topic, the City of Buenos Aires has been recently recognized as the most advanced in Latin America when it comes to using technology for the provision of public services. However, an important area in which the City has still not taken advantage of its information systems and widespread internet access is the programs against youth unemployment. In this paper, I present a public policy proposal whose aim is to take advantage of the already existing infrastructure and employment programs and to adjust them, via the use of a mobile platform, to their target audience: the youth population looking for employment or training.
Elite-Voter Alignment on Globalization: Do European Voters Align with their Party Families on Economic and Political Globalization? [Revise & Resubmit]
Do voters’ attitudes on globalization issues align with the party family they support? The rise of populist parties has put globalization at the center of the political agenda. Previous studies have found an inverted U shape among elites in their position on political and economic globalization. However, the extent to which this is replicated among voters remains less explored. Moreover, the extent to which populist left and right (and mainstream) voters differ in their attitudes towards economic versus political globalization remains unexplored. In this study, I use a cross-national survey of European voters with several measures of economic and political globalization to explore these questions. The findings replicate the inverted U shape found previously at the elite level among voters, with populist left and right voters being the most anti-globalization on both economic and political facets. However, among mainstream voters, a left-right pattern is still identified on economic globalization.
How ‘Right’ is the Far Right? An Original Survey on Populist Right Elites’ Economic Positioning and Intra-Party Differences. [Under Review]
How economically right are far-right parties and elites in Europe? During the last three decades, populist right parties (PRPs) in Europe have made increasing electoral gains. Previously seen as “neoliberal” or lacking clear economic stances, the positioning of these parties on economic issues remains less explored. In this study, I conduct an original survey of PRP elites and present new evidence on their economic positioning on a series of global and domestic economic issues, as well as intra-party differences in elites’ positioning and priorities based on the type of region (“winning” or “losing”) they represent. I find that PRP elites position their parties mostly on the protectionist side on globalization while being more divided on domestic issues. Moreover, PRP elites representing “losing” regions are more likely to prioritize globalization and trade issues and position their parties in a more protectionist and left-wing direction on global and domestic economic issues respectively.
Populist Right Success and Mainstream Party Adaptation: The Case of Economic Globalization.
Are populist right parties (PRPs) making mainstream parties more economically protectionist? From West to East, European parties of the populist right have experienced increasing electoral success by running on platforms stressing cultural and economic protectionism. While previous studies have found a causal link between populist right success and mainstream parties (MSPs)’ accommodation on immigration, the degree to which PRP success leads to MSP accommodation on economic protectionism remains unexplored. In this study I argue that, while MSPs are unlikely to accommodate PRPs’ economic protectionism, they are likely to respond to the PRP electoral threat by de-emphasizing trade and globalization in their campaign messages. I test this de-emphasis hypothesis by conducting a quantitative text analysis of the Twitter campaign rhetoric of 36 MSPs in 17 European democracies. The findings from statistical analyses and a regression discontinuity design indicate that, unlike immigration, MSPs do not accommodate the protectionist positioning of successful PRPs. However, when it comes to salience, successful PRPs cause MSPs to de-emphasize economic globalization in their messaging. The findings call for a deeper exploration of MSP responses to populist challenges on economic issues.
Autarky vs. Exchange: Explaining Populist Right Parties’ Positioning on Economic Globalization.
What explains populist right parties’ positioning on economic globalization? What makes these parties more likely to campaign on globalization-related issues? Traditionally seen as niche parties focused on cultural protectionism and nativism, a growing number of European populist right parties (PRPs) have adopted an anti-globalization message focused on economic nationalism (opposition to the participation of foreign companies in the national economy) and economic protectionism (opposition to free trade and economic integration). However, there remains significant variation in both PRP positioning on globalization and the salience of this topic in parties’ campaign messaging. In this study I explore what explains the variation behind these parties’ positioning and salience on globalization issues by introducing a theory of populist right party development that predicts differing levels of economic protectionism among PRPs. In order to test this theory, I create a new dataset of PRPs’ campaign messaging on globalization-related issues via a quantitative text analysis of parties’ tweets. The findings provide partial evidence for the theory, particularly the key role of parties’ government participation in moderating their protectionist positioning.
Disgust Sensitivity and Attitudes Towards International Trade.
Does disgust sensitivity shape attitudes towards international trade? In the last decade, the free flow of goods across the world has been put into question by political elites from populist right parties. Interestingly, these parties have not only connected trade with nativist appeals, but have also promoted protectionist policies by portraying imported products as dangerous for people’s health or having lower standards compared with local products. Previous studies have looked at the role basic human emotions such as disgust play in shaping individuals’ policy attitudes on issues like immigration, health policy, and moral issues. However, the extent to which unconscious predispositions such as disgust sensitivity shape economic and foreign policy issues has been less explored. In this study, I run a survey experiment among U.S. voters to test whether disgust can be activated by elite frames to shape voters’ attitudes towards international trade in a protectionist direction. The findings show that common populist rhetorical frames make individuals higher in disgust sensitivity more economically protectionist. Moreover, I show that these results are not driven by xenophobia, political ideology, or party affiliation. The findings in this study provide evidence on how unconscious predispositions shape voters’ economic and foreign policy views and the role they play in the contemporary politicization of globalization.
‘And some, I assume, are good people’: Determinants of Elite Rhetoric Towards Immigrants and Refugees.
[with João V. Guedes-Neto] [Under Review]
Relying on computational text analysis of US representatives’ tweets during the 2020 presidential election campaign, we test how districts' demographic and economic characteristics moderate rhetoric about immigrants and refugees. While Republicans are overall more negative towards immigrants than Democrats (although not towards refugees), when it comes to salience, Democrats strategically avoid these topics depending on the district’s ethnic composition. In non-Hispanic, whiter districts, they significantly reduce its salience in their messages, while increasing it the greater the share of the Hispanic population. The salience of immigration in Republican legislators’ tweets is not affected by district characteristics. We also find that, while Democrats use the terms immigrant and refugee interchangeably to speak about migrants coming from the southern border, Republicans’ greater positivity towards refugees responds, in part, to the use of the term for potential Hong Kong refugees, likely deemed as more deserving of protection. The findings in this study provide evidence of the strategic communication elites employ when it comes to immigration.
This Land is Our Land: Radical Right Parties and the Environmental Issue.
[with Jae-Jae Spoon]
Recent research has demonstrated that non‐mainstream parties are expanding their issue emphasis beyond their owned issues. When issue salience and agreement among nonmainstream supporters increases, parties are more likely to increase their discussion of new issues. In this paper, we expand this research to understand radical right parties’ environmental issue emphasis, what we term environmental chauvinism, and what explains this increasing emphasis. We argue that radical right parties increase their emphasis on environmental chauvinism as a response to increasing emphasis by green parties and public salience on the issue and to differentiate their agenda from that of the increasingly popular green parties. We demonstrate this using Twitter data from radical right parties in Western Europe from 2019-2021. These findings have important implications for understanding issue evolution and party competition in the changing party systems of Europe.
WORKS IN PROGRESS
The Effect of Populist Right Elites on Voters’ Trade Attitudes and Vote Choice.
- Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University
Research Grant, 2023 [ $2,000 ]
- University of Pittsburgh