A Framework on the Impact of Protectionist Discourse on Cross-Border Consumption: Is Trump to be Blamed? An Abstract
This paper proposes an integrative conceptual framework to analyze the role and impact of protectionist rhetorical discourse as well as social identification variables on buying patterns of domestic and foreign products on both countries (Mexico and USA). The framework draws on three well-established theories: attribution theory (variables: protectionist rhetorical discourse influences domestic/foreign product judgments), social identity theory (country of origin, consumer ethnocentrism, and cosmopolitanism influence domestic/foreign product judgments), and theory of reasoned action (product judgments influence willingness to buy domestic/foreign products). First, attribution theory allows the individual to find explanations for unsatisfactory or negative outcomes: We normally ask “Why the flight got delayed?”, but we seldom ask “Why the flight arrived on time?”. Second, social identification theory maintains that individuals develop a sense of belonging to different social groups. Third, theory of reasoned action maintains that individuals develop favorable or unfavorable intentions to behave in specific manners based on polar attitudes. Prospects to test the conceptual model and managerial implications are discussed.
The results of empirically testing the proposed model have implications for marketers. Marketers of Mexican brands prone to diminishing consumption can strengthen business strategies focused on internal markets rather than keeping high exports. They can also foster exports if they find that their products are more heavily consumed under the new protectionist landscape. Commerce policy makers can assess which Mexican products have better acceptability in the USA so they can pursue more favorable rules of origin in NAFTA renegotiations. They can also understand whether rhetorical protectionist discourse influences Mexican products and which categories are mostly affected to implement defensive commerce strategies. A limitation of the proposed framework is ambiguity in the country of origin of products. For example, a car may have a European brand, whereas its parts come from China; it is manufactured in Mexico and sold in the USA. For sake of parsimony, this paper only considers COO. Other studies have analyzed rejection buying, price sensitivity, and xenocentrism. Researchers in other countries would be interested to further address these topics.
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