N. Jensen and G. Rosas, “Open for Politics? Economic Globalization and Political Survival”, Journal of Experiments in Political Science, forthcoming.
Previous literature suggests that economic performance affects government approval asymmetrically, either because voters are quicker to blame incompetence than to credit ability (grievance asymmetry) or because they understand that the degree to which policy-makers can affect the economy varies depending on economic openness (clarity of responsibility asymmetry). We seek to understand whether these asymmetries coexist, arguing that these theories conjointly imply that globalization may have the capacity to mitigate blame for bad outcomes but should neither promote nor reduce credit to policy-makers for good economic outcomes. We look for evidence of these asymmetries in three survey experiments carried out in the United States and Canada in 2014 and 2015. We find ample experimental evidence in support of the grievance asymmetry, but our results are mixed on the impact of economic openness on blame mitigation, with some evidence of this phenomenon in the United States, but not in Canada.