Trade and the transnational cleavage in European party politics
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of European Public Policy. 2023, . 10.1080/13501763.2023.2245443
Theorists of the transnational cleavage, defined as a political reaction against European integration and immigration, also regularly conceptualise international trade preferences as a component of this contemporary societal divide. Yet empirical analyses of this cleavage focus on the former two topics, while trade and the transnational cleavage has not been systematically investigated. Making use of a new item in the 2019 Chapel Hill Expert Survey that measures party support for protection of domestic producer groups versus support for trade liberalisation, we examine the applicability of explanations for European integration positioning for the topic of trade. The results show that party positions on international trade correlate with parties’ underlying two-dimensional ideology: parties of the economic left and culturally conservative parties support trade protection. The findings advance previous studies on the transnational cleavage and party positioning on trade, and demonstrate the continued importance of economic factors in driving patterns of trade protection.