U.S. Opinion on the Global Economy
from International Institutions and Global Governance Program

U.S. Opinion on the Global Economy

September 4, 2009 3:50 pm (EST)

Backgrounder
Current political and economic issues succinctly explained.

This page is part of Public Opinion on Global Issues.

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General Views of Globalization and International Trade

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Economics

Polls and Public Opinion

Americans clearly support globalization, though they also lean toward the position that the pace of globalization is too fast. Americans generally view international trade as positive for the United States, themselves, their families, consumers, and the nation’s companies; however views are more negative about the impact of international trade on jobs and the environment. 

International Regulation of Financial Institutions

A clear majority of Americans favor the idea of having a new international institution to monitor global financial markets. At the same time, a modest majority of Americans worries that a global regulating body might interfere with the U.S. economy and make it less productive. A modest majority of Americans also resists the idea of international regulation of U.S. banks. 

Including Labor and Environmental Standards in Trade Agreements

Consistent with concerns about the impact of international trade on jobs and the environment, an overwhelming majority of Americans support including labor and environmental standards in trade agreements.

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Assessments of Countries’ Fairness in Trade

Americans perceive rich countries as not playing fair in trade negotiations with poor countries.

Regional Trade Relations

Americans generally place a high priority on economic relations with Pacific Rim nations, though they only favor creating a free trade agreement with one East Asian nation: Japan. Most Americans favor a new initiative to enhance transatlantic trade and investment ties. 

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Polls and Public Opinion

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

In general, Americans express a positive view of the influence of international financial institutions, including the World Bank and the IMF. While both get mildly positive ratings, the World Bank is more popular than the IMF. 

The World Trade Organization (WTO)

The WTO has a positive image among Americans and there is support for strengthening it. Respondents in the United States, as in most other nations, say that their government should comply with adverse WTO decisions. 

Global Corporations

Americans lean slightly to the view that global corporations have a positive influence in the world and on U.S. society. 

Foreign Investment

A large majority of Americans endorses foreigners investing in U.S. companies and projects. However, large majorities also have a negative view of foreigners buying U.S. companies, and express concern that sovereign wealth funds investing in U.S. companies may give them too much control. 

Trade and Poverty Reduction

While majorities of the public in most developed and developing countries believe that, to reduce poverty, rich countries should allow more imports from developing countries, Americans disagree. 

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