Do Economic Interests Transcend Socio-Cultural Values? Understanding Support for Globalization in MENA

Abstract:

What factors shape attitudes toward economic globalization? Theories in international and comparative political economy emphasize the importance of economic variables, like factor endowments, as determining preferences toward international trade. Other literature emphasizes the importance of non-economic factors, including nationalism and socio-cultural variables as crucial. This paper attempts to adjudicate between these two competing arguments by focusing on the factors correlated with public support for Foreign Direct Investment in Tunisia. On the one hand, Tunisia might benefit from economic globalization and those who stand to benefit might champion further globalization. On the other hand, globalization might conflict with some of its core socio-cultural values linked to Islam, patriarchy, and nationalism. In this paper, we adjudicate between these competing arguments by analyzing data and results from three original data sources conducted in 2015 and 2016. The first is a large representative survey (N=4986) of Tunisian citizens. The second is a conjoint survey experiment (N=1502), and the third is an original survey experiment with different social vignettes (N=504).

Last updated on 12/03/2018