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Fordham on Economic Interests and Support for Global Activism

Abstract: This research note evaluates the effect of economic interests on public support for American global activism. Those who were relatively well-positioned to benefit from the American-supported postwar international order should be more likely to support it. An analysis of American National Election Study data on support for isolationism between 1956 and 2000 supports this line of argument. Individual self-interest is probably the most important pathway through which the international economy has influenced public opinion. However, the aggregate effects of exports and imports on respondents’ home states have also made a difference. The effects of economic interests are substantively large and fairly consistent over time.

Benjamin O. Fordham (2007), “Economic Interests and Public Support for American Global Activism,” forthcoming, International Organization. Available here.

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