Heckscher-Ohlin Theory and Individual Attitudes Towards Globalization
NBER Working Paper No. 9872
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 anti-immigration 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. Being high-skilled is associated with more pro-globalization attitudes 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, which is what simple Heckscher-Ohlin theory predicts.
Published: Findlay, R., R. Henriksson, H. Lindgren and M. Lundahl (eds.) Eli Heckscher, International Trade, and Economic History. MIT Press, 2006.