Has Trump Damaged U.S. Image Abroad? Experimental Evidence from Japan

Dartmouth Events

Has Trump Damaged U.S. Image Abroad? Experimental Evidence from Japan

Alexander Agadjanian '18 (QSS major) and Yusaku Horiuchi, Professor of Government and Mitsui Professor of Japanese Studies

Friday, April 20, 2018
Silsby Hall 119
Intended Audience(s): Public
Categories: Lectures & Seminars

The U.S. President Donald Trump has frequently made foreign countries central to his political messages, often conveying animosity. But do his messages sway foreign public opinion? Do foreign citizens react more to the speaker of the messages---namely, Trump himself---or the content of the messages? To investigate these questions, we fielded a preregistered survey experiment in Japan, in which respondents were exposed to varying policy messages. The results suggest that while the source cue (attribution to Trump) causes negative perceptions of the U.S., the policy content (cooperative vs. uncooperative) has the strongest effect in shaping opinion of the U.S. Furthermore, only when the U.S. policy approach is uncooperative does the Trump attribution have a statistically discernible effect. These findings imply greater use of policy considerations over source cues when foreign citizens shape their attitudes toward the U.S. They also suggest that Trump has not irreparably damaged the U.S. image abroad.


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Laura Mitchell

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