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Heckscher-Ohlin Theory and Individual Attitudes Towards Globalization

Kevin O' Rourke

Abstract

The aim of the paper is to see whether individuals' attitudes towards globalization are consistent with the predictions of Heckscher-Ohlin theory. The theory predicts that the impact of being skilled or unskilled on attitudes towards trade and immigration should depend on a country's skill endowments, with the skilled being less anti-trade and antiimmigration in more skill-abundant countries (here taken to be richer countries) than in more unskilled-labour-abundant countries (here taken to be poorer countries). These predictions are confirmed, using survey data for 24 countries. The high-skilled are pro-globalization in
rich countries; while in some of the very poorest countries in the sample being high-skilled has a negative (if statistically insignificant) impact on pro-globalization sentiment. More generally, an interaction term between skills and GDP per capita has a negative impact in regressions explaining anti-globalization sentiment. Furthermore, individuals view
protectionism and anti-immigrant policies as complements rather than as substitutes, as they would do in a simple Heckscher-Ohlin world.

Keywords : globalization, attitudes, survey data, Hecksher-Ohlin theory.


Last updated 28 August 2014 by IIIS (Email).