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Why do people's preferences towards trade liberalization fluctuate? And why do we observe the eventual return of public support towards free trade? The traditional literature in international political economy has typically calculated individuals' preferences based on their comparative advantage as income-earners, which arises from their specific or general skill level or employment status. What needs to be taken into account, however, is that their economic preferences are constructed based upon their intertwined identities as both income-earners and consumers. We designed and conducted an experiment in Japan (2015) that would impartially elicit answers regarding respondents' daily consumption patterns or (and) employment concerns rather than deliberately or artificially informing them of the potential benefits or harms of trade liberalization. The results display that consumer priming offsets negative impacts arising from employment priming. The consumer effect reduces individuals' concerns on income level or employment when they are exposed to consumer and employment primings simultaneously. Furthermore, our subgroup analyses reveal that the consumer effect remains even among those experiencing economic fragility such as low income or job insecurity. This suggests that potential losers have incentives to support free trade by appreciating consumer benefits.
How can scholars conduct field research when there is limited access to the field? This article first identifies how limited and uncertain field access can affect field research and then provides recommendations to address these challenges. We focus on conducting field research in Japan because of our substantive expertise, but we believe that the problems and solutions outlined in this article are applicable to a broad range of countries. Our hope is that this article contributes to the developing literature on conducting research during times of emergency and to the larger literature on best practices for field research.
This article compares the public perceptions of various types of migrants in Japan and examines whether Japanese view them equally. Using an original survey, which presented six types of migrants that Japanese people most commonly face in their daily lives, I show several interesting results. First, respondents express the most negative views toward labor migrants. Second, respondents who have migrant friends tend to have more positive feelings for all types of migrants. In contrast, simple coexistence with migrants fails to enhance public sentiment toward labor migrants, particularly those whose stay is temporary. Overall, my statistical results suggest that Japanese people are not pessimistic about every kind of migrant, and their openness increases as migrants acculturate into Japanese society and interact with Japanese people. These findings provide evidence to influence policy discussions on whether Japan should recruit labor migrants in its current form in order to fight its aging population.
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