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The political economy of trade and migration: Evidence from the U.S. Congress

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  • Paola Conconi
  • Giovanni Facchini
  • Max F. Steinhardt
  • Maurizio Zanardi

Abstract

We compare the drivers of U.S. congressmen's votes on trade and migration reforms since the 1970s. Standard trade theory suggests that trade reforms that lower barriers to goods from less skilled‐labor abundant countries and migration reforms that lower barriers to low‐skilled migrants should have similar distributional effects, hurting low‐skilled U.S. workers while benefiting high‐skilled workers. In line with this prediction, we find that House members representing more skilled‐labor abundant districts are more likely to support trade and migration reforms that benefit high‐skilled workers. Still, important differences exist: Democrats are less supportive of trade reforms than Republicans, while the opposite is true for migration reforms; welfare state considerations and network effects shape votes on migration, but not on trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Paola Conconi & Giovanni Facchini & Max F. Steinhardt & Maurizio Zanardi, 2020. "The political economy of trade and migration: Evidence from the U.S. Congress," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(2), pages 250-278, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:32:y:2020:i:2:p:250-278
    DOI: 10.1111/ecpo.12149
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The political economy of migration (the US)
      by UDADISI in UDADISI on 2013-01-14 07:53:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Maria Mayda & Giovanni Peri & Walter Steingress, 2018. "The Political Impact of Immigration: Evidence from the United States," NBER Working Papers 24510, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Lake, James & Millimet, Daniel L., 2016. "An empirical analysis of trade-related redistribution and the political viability of free trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 156-178.
    3. Mayda, Anna Maria & Peri, Giovanni & Steingress, Walter, 2015. "Immigration to the U.S.: A Problem for the Republicans or the Democrats?," IZA Discussion Papers 9543, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Giovanni Facchini & Tommaso Frattini & Cora Signorotto, 2013. "Mind What Your Voters Read: Media Exposure and International Economic Policy Making," Development Working Papers 358, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
    5. Yi Che & Yi Lu & Justin R. Pierce & Peter K. Schott & Zhigang Tao, 2016. "Does Trade Liberalization with China Influence U.S. Elections?," NBER Working Papers 22178, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Casarico, Alessandra & Facchini, Giovanni & Frattini, Tommaso, 2018. "What drives the legalization of immigrants? Evidence from IRCA," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 258-273.
    7. Julian S. Leppin & Stefan Reitz, 2016. "The Role of a Changing Market Environment for Credit Default Swap Pricing," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(3), pages 209-223, July.
    8. Lake, James, 2015. "Revisiting the link between PAC contributions and lobbying expenditures," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 86-101.
    9. Dreher, Axel & Langlotz, Sarah & Matzat, Johannes & Mayda, Anna Maria & Parsons, Chris, 2020. "Immigration, Political Ideologies and the Polarization of American Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 15587, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Malcolm, Michael, 2017. "Do local exports impact congressional voting on free trade agreements?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 31-34.
    11. Bargain, Olivier & Stephane, Victor & Valette, Jérôme, 2021. "Another Brick in the Wall. Immigration and Electoral Preferences: Direct Evidence from State Ballots," IZA Discussion Papers 14233, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Ben G. Li & Yi Lu & Pasquale Sgro & Xing Xu, 2020. "Trump, China, and the Republicans," Discussion Papers 2020-26, University of Nottingham, GEP.
    13. Bräuninger, Michael, 2014. "Tax sovereignty and feasibility of international regulations for tobacco tax policies," HWWI Research Papers 152, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    14. repec:smu:ecowpa:1405 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Bellani, Luna & Fabella, Vigile Marie, 2018. "Upward Income Mobility and Legislator Support for Education Policies," IZA Discussion Papers 11324, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Vöpel, Henning, 2013. "A Zidane clustering theorem: Why top players tend to play in one team and how the competitive balance can be restored," HWWI Research Papers 141, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).

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    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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