What we do...

We apply large-scale online surveys in many countries to understand how people think, how they form their perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes, and how their views on economic and social policies emerge. These Social Economics Surveys are rigorous research tools that can shed light on what is invisible in other data: perceptions, beliefs, reasoning, attitudes, views, and detailed individual economic circumstances.

This study highlights how people understand and reason about trade, and what factors shape their views on trade policy. The surveys aim to elicit respondents’ knowledge and understanding of trade, their perceived economic gains and distributional impacts from it, and their views on trade restrictions and compensatory redistribution for those hurt by trade.

People’s understanding of trade is imperfect and views are split on its efficiency and distributional effects. Respondents’ own exposure to trade through their sector, occupation, skill, or local labor market shape their perceptions of the impacts of trade on themselves, but also on others and on the broader U.S. economy.