The Underpinning Assumption Of Open Economic Politics : A Critical Analysis

Satisfactory Essays
Many of this week’s readings share a common feature: casting doubts on the underpinning assumption of Open Economic Politics (OEP) that individuals’ policy preferences can be derived from their economic self-interests. Hainmueller and Hiscox (2007) find that labor-market competition cannot explain the source of anti-immigrant sentiment. Instead, people with higher levels of education and occupational skills are more tolerant to immigrants regardless of immigrants’ skill levels. Mansfield and Mutz (2009) find that individuals' trade policy preferences are shaped by their perceptions rather than their self-interests. They argue education is less representative of skills than of individuals' perceptions, and perceptions of how trade affects…show more content…
But it will be interesting to see whether such a concern will have an impact on individuals’ attitude toward immigrants. Another question I have for this paper is that how will the result apply to the United States? Most European countries could be seen as small, open economies that fit the description of the Heckscher-Olin model. As a result, trade can offset the impact of immigration as economies adjust to changes in factor supplies by importing less of the product that can now be produced locally at a lower price. As a result, workers’ wages will not change much. However, the U.S. market can affect world price, and immigration may have a more salient effect on workers’ wages in the U.S. It will be interesting to see how the analysis of this paper applies to the U.S.

My question for Mansfield and Mutz’s (2009) paper is that how can you prove individuals form socio-tropic perceptions first before having their trade policy preferences? The authors obviously realize this problem but they spend only two short paragraphs talking about how unlikely people might have a priori opinion on trade. Their main argument is that media coverage may alter socio-tropic perceptions, but it generally has no effect on opinions. If I were the authors, I will spill more inks on this. Perhaps borrowing theories and empirical results from physiology and sociology can better justify the authors’ argument. Otherwise, it seems to me that support for trade barriers and holding racist
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