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Heckscher-Ohlin Theory and Individual Attitudes Towards Globalization

Kevin O' Rourke


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).