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What is the future of international trade in the East: A cross-national study of public trade preferences in Asia under COVID-19

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The COVID-19 pandemic has stalled the world's economic activities and obscures the
future of economic and trade. Many observers concern that the pandemic would result
in growing protectionist attitudes in trade. This article provides one of the first
systematic assessments to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the
public's trade preferences. Using original cross-national surveys in six key and highly
integrated economies in Asia – Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan,
and Thailand – we found that most people support establishing closer trade
relationships with foreign countries. However, most people prefer to buy more
domestic products than foreign products. We test a behavioural model of trade
preferences to understand the psychological impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.
Consistent with prior studies, we found that a greater level of anxiety is negatively
associated with support for trade and foreign product preference, after controlling for
the effects of ethnocentrism, education and other socioeconomic factors. Job and health insecurities reduced public preference for buying more foreign products, but it
stimulated more support for trade with other countries. This study contributes to the
behavioural theory of international political economy and sheds light on the future of
economic globalization.

Research Unit / Event Journal/Book Series

Seminar

TitlePolitical Studies Association Executive Politics and Governance SG Virtual Lunchtime Seminar
Date10/12/2010/12/20
PlaceUnited Kingdom
Degree of recognitionNational event