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ISRN Economics
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 954071, 14 pages
Research Article

Explaining Protectionism Support: The Role of Economic Factors

1Department of Economics, University of the Republic, Constituyente 1502, 11200 Montevideo, Uruguay
2Department of Economic Theory and History, University of Granada, Campus Cartuja, 18071 Granada, Spain

Received 8 November 2012; Accepted 26 November 2012

Academic Editors: T. M. Dall and D. Mitra

Copyright © 2013 Natalia Melgar et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We find that individuals’ opinions concerning protectionist policies match with how their revenue could be affected in the medium or long term by trade liberalisation in line with predictions of the comparative advantage models. An adverse macroeconomic context (large increase in the unemployment rate or inflation rate) increases protectionist attitudes, thus reflecting that people do not trust that free trade will lead to lower prices or create jobs despite trade theory optimism. People share a mercantilist view of trade since more imports increase protectionism support, while people positively value exports, especially in small countries. Regarding policy measures, while protectionist measures do not influence protectionism support in general, easy access to exports reduces people’s support for protectionism.