Target, Information, and Trade Preferences: Evidence from a Survey Experiment in East Asia

Sung Eun Kim, Jong Hee Park, Inbok Rhee, Joonseok Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Protectionist measures often have target countries, and public support for such measures depends on who the targets are. We identify such target effects on protectionist sentiments and examine the effects of information in tempering protectionist sentiments in East Asia. Using an original survey experiment in China, Japan, and South Korea, we test how providing information about the costs of protectionism changes public attitudes toward targeted protectionist measures. We found that providing a target country identity increased public support for protectionism by 8.6%. Providing cost information, on the other hand, reduces support for protectionism by 10%. We also found that information and target effects persist in the presence of the other: Receiving cost information reduces support for both general and targeted protectionism but does not necessarily mute the target effect. Similarly, when reputation and retaliation costs are associated with protectionism, knowing a target country identity still increases public support for protectionism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)898-914
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Oct

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Midwest Political Science Association.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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