Can International Trade Change Minds?
Last registered on May 05, 2017


Trial Information
General Information
Can International Trade Change Minds?
Initial registration date
May 05, 2017
Last updated
May 05, 2017 8:02 PM EDT
Primary Investigator
University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Columbia University - Graduate School of Business
PI Affiliation
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Additional Trial Information
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Most economists believe that international trade provides economic benefits to both the exporting and importing countries. A large literature characterizes and estimates the welfare gains from trade, and identifies the mechanisms through which trade affects workers, firms and the aggregate economy. Some policymakers believe that international trade has effects beyond changing economic outcomes such as prices, expenditures, wages, employment and productivity. Trade may change individuals’ views and attitudes towards other countries and cultures. For example, individuals who have directly benefited from international trade by selling their production abroad may hold more cosmopolitan views and be more favorable towards the values of their buyers.

Of course, participation in international trade and an individual’s views and attitudes may simply be correlated. It is hard to estimate the causal impact of trade on views and attitudes because of the difficulty of finding a convincing counterfactual since substantial evidence suggests that exporters differ from non-exporters. It is also difficult to estimate this relationship because one needs to complement trade data with surveys on individual attitudes.

We hope to make progress on these issues and provide the first rigorous evidence on how exposure to trade with Western Democracies affects participants’ views and attitudes. We do this by utilizing the randomized allocation of export orders to rug-making firms in Fowa, Egypt, as described in Atkin, Khandelwal and Osman (forthcoming). More than five years after the initial randomization, and three years after our last follow up survey, we re-surveyed producers to collect information on their attitudes and world views. We developed a survey that focused on issues of economic equality, gender equality, information sources and international trade. Most importantly, given the geographic and historical context of our sample, we also asked questions about Western bias and attitudes towards terrorism. Our main hypothesis is that trade with Western democracies decreases anti-Western bias and support for terrorism.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Atkin, David, Amit Khadelwal and Adam Osman. 2017. "Can International Trade Change Minds?." AEA RCT Registry. May 05.
Former Citation
Atkin, David et al. 2017. "Can International Trade Change Minds?." AEA RCT Registry. May 05.
Experimental Details
This is a new survey implemented on the participants of an early randomized experiment, registered as AEARCTR-0000069. In that experiment we provided a subset of handmade rug manufacturing firms the opportunity to work on orders place by foreign buyers.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Attitudes towards foreign countries and views on terrorism.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The experiment is outlined in Atkin, Khandelwal and Osman (QJE, forthcoming). We provided a subset of handmade rug manufacturing firms the opportunity to work on orders place by foreign buyers.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Randomized at the firm level.
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
219 individual firms
Sample size: planned number of observations
219 individual firms
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
79 treatment firms, 140 control firms.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
Can International Trade Change Minds?

MD5: 369c9724b3366a956b403be297e49521

SHA1: 6b56d406267ccb866604d69810ede99f60825f22

Uploaded At: May 05, 2017

Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers