The Shadow of Socialization: Economic Narratives and the Intergenerational Divide in Attitudes Towards Foreign Takeovers

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Dominant approaches to the study of mass attitudes towards economicglobalization emphasize the role of self-interests, but pay little attention to how these interests are being constructed. This article argues that lay persons are frequently unable to directly observe the material implications of complex transnational economic processes. In order to ‘see’ globalization and define their interests towards it, they relyon economic narratives that describe these phenomena in a certain way. As a result, the configuration of economic narratives themselves can become important drivers of individual preferences. To test this argument, the article focuses on the impact of the differential changes in the portrayal of greenfield and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) inward foreign direct investments (IFDI) in dominant economic discourses in the United Kingdom. In line with the theoretical argument, I find that individuals who passed their early adulthood in a period in which the narrative of economic statism was prevalent hold notably more skeptical views of M&A IFDI - even though they are otherwise not more opposed to investments from abroad - and the effect is particularly strong among individuals who completed a university education during that period. A causal mediation analysis lends further empirical support to the argument.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Amsterdam
Number of pages48
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2017
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameFickle Formulas Working Papers
PublisherUniversity of Amsterdam

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