Trade GovernanceStudies in political science and political economy demonstrate that government policies are strongly influenced by public opinion, particularly in democratic countries. Public opinion tends to impose strong constraints on regulatory capture by parochial interest groups, a frequent phenomenon that lowers overall welfare. Consequently, a deeper understanding of trade regulation requires a deeper understanding of public opinion, with respect to trade policy in general, and with respect to specific trade issues. Work Package 1 will focus on four issues that play an important role in the formation of public opinion vis-à-vis trade liberalisation and trade governance, including social foundations of trade preferences, preferential trade agreements, environmental and social standards in trade agreements and the effects of general economic conditions on trade policy preferences, with a focus on public procurement regulation.
This cluster seeks to understand citizens’ attitudes vis-à-vis trade liberalisation by analysing whether and how individual trade preferences are influenced by non-economic and societal concerns as well as by individual-level economic concerns arising from the redistributive consequences of trade liberalisation.