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Indirect Pathways of Self-Interest and the TPP

  • Kim-Lee Tuxhorn (a1)

Do consumer and producer considerations influence support for future trade agreements and, if so, how? Prior research has pitted self-interest-based explanations of trade preferences against perception-based explanations, finding limited empirical support for the self-interest hypothesis. Instead of treating perceptions and self-interest as competing explanations, we construct a theoretical model with perceptions of trade as a mediating factor linking self-interest and support for prospective free trade agreements (FTAs). Using new survey data collected by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, we examine how two distinct forms of self-interest (consumer and producer considerations) can indirectly shape attitudes toward the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). We find that the impact of respondents' income level (proxying producer considerations) and their recognition of the price-lowering effect of international trade (proxying consumer considerations) on support for the TPP are largely mediated by perceptions of trade. Together the findings suggest a middle ground between the two sides of the self-interest debate.

Les considérations des consommateurs et des producteurs exercent-elles une influence sur l'appui aux futurs accords commerciaux et, dans l'affirmative, de quelle façon ? La recherche a mis en opposition les explications des préférences commerciales fondées sur l'intérêt personnel et les explications fondées sur les attitudes perceptives, trouvant un appui empirique limité pour l'hypothèse de l'intérêt personnel. Au lieu de traiter les perceptions et l'intérêt personnel comme des explications concurrentes, nous construisons un modèle théorique dans lequel les perceptions du commerce constituent un facteur de médiation reliant l'intérêt personnel et le soutien aux futurs ALE. À l'aide de nouvelles données recueillies par la Fondation Asie Pacifique du Canada, nous examinons comment deux formes distinctes d'intérêt personnel (considérations des consommateurs et des producteurs) peuvent indirectement façonner les attitudes à l'égard du Partenariat transpacifique (PTP). Nous constatons que l'incidence du niveau de revenu des répondants (remplaçant les considérations des producteurs) et leur reconnaissance de l'effet de baisse des prix du commerce international (remplaçant les considérations des consommateurs) sur le soutien au PTP est largement médiée par les perceptions du commerce. Ensemble, les conclusions suggèrent un juste milieu entre les deux côtés du débat autour de l'intérêt personnel.

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The author is a department colleague of the English-language editorial team. To maintain objectivity, the preceding editorial team provided oversight over both the review process and editorial decisions for this submission.

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Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique
  • ISSN: 0008-4239
  • EISSN: 1744-9324
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