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Ideas, Analogical Reasoning and International Trade Attitudes: Evidence from a Survey Experiment
Unformatted Document Text:  though they had the option of not answering by simply proceeding to the next question. 19 For ease of exposition and comparison to past studies, people’s responses in the subsequent analysis are coded on a 4-point protrade scale (i.e., a reverse of the actual question scale) and dichotomized into a protradebinary variable, with 1 representing a favorable (unfavorable) view of trade (policies that limit imports) and 0 representing an unfavorable (favorable) view of trade (policies that limit imports). This question wording has several advantages. First, it is relatively clean and does not introduce considerations about protecting jobs or the economy, for example, as many questions have in the past. Second, the mercantilist and comparative advantage introductions detailed below suggest clear inferences about the desirability of imports as opposed to trade in general. Third, it asks about government policies, but not ones that are overly specific, such as tariffs, with which respondents are often unfamiliar. 20 Fourth and finally, it is accessible, as headlines referring to “import limits” and so on often appear in television newscasts and newspapers. The introductory treatments, each approximately 140 words long, are shown in Table 1. The first treatment was designed to mimic the mercantilist thinking economists worry about based on the idea that “trade is like war” and that the “balance of trade” is like the “balance of power” among countries. It represents a “superficial” analogy suggesting an inference based on similarities in wording or phrasing, rather than similarities in the underlying structure of the two phenomena. 19 This practice follows the recommendation of Krosnick et al. (2002). Given the length of the introductory treatments, the potential for satisficing by respondents was an acute concern. Therefore, no middle category or “Don’t Know” option was offered. 20 See discussion in Hiscox (2006, p. 758n). 6

Authors: David, Lynch.
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though they had the option of not answering by simply proceeding to the next question.
For ease of exposition and comparison to past studies, people’s responses in the
subsequent analysis are coded on a 4-point protrade scale (i.e., a reverse of the actual
question scale) and dichotomized into a protradebinary variable, with 1 representing a
favorable (unfavorable) view of trade (policies that limit imports) and 0 representing an
unfavorable (favorable) view of trade (policies that limit imports).
This question wording has several advantages. First, it is relatively clean and does not
introduce considerations about protecting jobs or the economy, for example, as many
questions have in the past. Second, the mercantilist and comparative advantage
introductions detailed below suggest clear inferences about the desirability of imports as
opposed to trade in general. Third, it asks about government policies, but not ones that
are overly specific, such as tariffs, with which respondents are often unfamiliar.
Fourth
and finally, it is accessible, as headlines referring to “import limits” and so on often
appear in television newscasts and newspapers.
The introductory treatments, each approximately 140 words long, are shown in Table 1.
The first treatment was designed to mimic the mercantilist thinking economists worry
about based on the idea that “trade is like war” and that the “balance of trade” is like the
“balance of power” among countries. It represents a “superficial” analogy suggesting an
inference based on similarities in wording or phrasing, rather than similarities in the
underlying structure of the two phenomena.
19
This practice follows the recommendation of Krosnick et al. (2002). Given the length of the introductory
treatments, the potential for satisficing by respondents was an acute concern. Therefore, no middle category
or “Don’t Know” option was offered.
20
See discussion in Hiscox (2006, p. 758n).
6


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