U.S. Perceptions of Economic Mobility Since the Enactment of NAFTA and Their Impact on American Politics and Society

Jairemy Q Edwards, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

In this study, I examine how perceptions of NAFTA developed over 20 years since its enactment, measured as perceived economic mobility in 2016, have affected more recent public perceptions leading to increased, controversial tendencies towards nationalism, protectionism, and pessimism about the future of the U.S. economy. I then assess whether and how such perceptions in turn may have affected voter perceptions about Donald Trump, setting the stage for his 2016 election victory. Therein, I have found that among U.S. voters in 2016, those with perceptions of reduced economic mobility since the enactment of NAFTA were significantly more likely to have supported changes in U.S. macroeconomic policies, to implement greater economic protection from elitism within the U.S. government and foreign competition. Additionally, U.S. voters holding said preferences were significantly more likely to support Trump’s candidacy during the 2016 Presidential election rather than Hillary Clinton. However, U.S. voters who identified as victims of racial discrimination were significantly less likely to support Trump’s candidacy in 2016, even when holding preferences congruent with the Trump campaign policy agenda.

Subject Area

Political science|Economics|Behavioral psychology

Recommended Citation

Edwards, Jairemy Q, "U.S. Perceptions of Economic Mobility Since the Enactment of NAFTA and Their Impact on American Politics and Society" (2019). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI13883386.
https://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI13883386

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