Anger Yes, Boycott No: Third-Person Effects and the China–U.S. Trade War

Ven-hwei Lo, Liangwen Kuo, Ran Wei, Zongya Li


The study examines the perceptual and behavioral effects of news about the ongoing China–U.S. trade war. Results of a survey of 1,047 respondents sampled in China showed that they believed news about the trade war would impact others more than themselves. Moreover, exposure to the news on social media was found to be a stronger correlate of perceived effects of such news on oneself and on others than exposure to traditional media. Other factors that accounted for the perceived effects on oneself and others included nationalism and negative emotions. That is, the higher the nationalist sentiments, the less perceived effects of the news on oneself and on others; however, the more the respondents felt outraged and upset by such news, the more they viewed themselves and other Chinese like them as being influenced by the news. Finally, perceived effects of the trade war news on oneself turned out to be a significant but negative predictor of support for the Chinese government trade policy response and likelihood of boycotting of U.S. goods.


China–U.S. trade war, third-person effect, nationalism, negative emotions, and boycott

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