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Globalization, robotization, and electoral outcomes: Evidence from spatial regressions for Italy

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  • Mauro Caselli
  • Andrea Fracasso
  • Silvio Traverso

Abstract

Criticism of economic globalization and technological progress has gained support in Italy in the last two decades. However, due to the differentiated exposure of local labor markets to this process, electoral outcomes have varied considerably across the country. By observing the local impact of three global economic phenomena (flows of migrants, foreign competition in international trade, and diffusion of robots) alongside with the patterns of local electoral outcomes potentially associated with discontent, this study analyzes the economic forces driving the evolution of general elections in 2001, 2008, and 2013 in Italy. The analysis reveals that all these global factors had an impact on political outcomes associated with discontent, albeit in different ways and changing over time. All three factors are associated with increases in votes for far‐right parties in the period 2001–2008, but only robotization continues to have such an impact in the following period, while immigration is associated with an increase in votes for the Five‐Star Movement at the expense of far‐right parties. The results and extensions exploiting recent advances in political geography, political economy, and spatial econometrics make it possible to draw some general and methodological conclusions. Global drivers interact with elements pertaining to the political supply that empirical researchers should not be oblivious about. Political spillovers across neighboring areas add to the direct impact of locally mediated economic factors. Finally, the adoption of shift–share instrumental variables to identify the impact of robotization may lack robustness.

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  • Mauro Caselli & Andrea Fracasso & Silvio Traverso, 2021. "Globalization, robotization, and electoral outcomes: Evidence from spatial regressions for Italy," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(1), pages 86-111, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jregsc:v:61:y:2021:i:1:p:86-111
    DOI: 10.1111/jors.12503
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    1. Luigi Bonatti & Andrea Fracasso, 2020. "The Covid-19 Crisis, Italy and Ms Merkel’s Turnaround: Will the EU Ever be the Same Again?," EconPol Policy Reports 25, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    2. Mauro Caselli & Paolo Falco, 2020. "As long as they are cheap. Experimental evidence on the demand for migrant workers," Discussion Papers 20-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    3. Barone, Guglielmo & Kreuter, Helena, 2021. "Low-wage import competition and populist backlash: The case of Italy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    4. Mauro Caselli & Andrea Fracasso & Sergio Scicchitano, 2020. "From the lockdown to the new normal: An analysis of the limitations to individual mobility in Italy following the Covid-19 crisis," Discussion Paper series in Regional Science & Economic Geography 2020-07, Gran Sasso Science Institute, Social Sciences, revised Oct 2020.
    5. Davide Dottori, 2021. "Robots and employment: evidence from Italy," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 38(2), pages 739-795, July.
    6. Robert Gold, 2022. "From a better understanding of the drivers of populism to a new political agenda," Working Papers 4, Forum New Economy.
    7. Mauro Caselli & Andrea Fracasso & Sergio Scicchitano & Silvio Traverso & Enrico Tundis, 2021. "Stop worrying and love the robot: An activity-based approach to assess the impact of robotization on employment dynamics," DEM Working Papers 2021/06, Department of Economics and Management.
    8. Richard Baldwin & Rebecca Freeman, 2021. "Risks and global supply chains: What we know and what we need to know," NBER Working Papers 29444, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Paolo Nicola Barbieri & Beatrice Bonini, 2021. "Political orientation and adherence to social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 38(2), pages 483-504, July.
    10. Colantone, Italo & Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Stanig, Piero, 2021. "The backlash of globalization," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 113860, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    11. Eugenio Levi & Fabrizio Patriarca, 2020. "An exploratory study of populism: the municipality-level predictors of electoral outcomes in Italy," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 37(3), pages 833-875, October.
    12. Arntz, Melanie & Blesse, Sebastian & Doerrenberg, Philipp, 2022. "The end of work is near, isn't it? Survey evidence on automation angst," ZEW Discussion Papers 22-036, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    13. Klump, Rainer & Jurkat, Anne & Schneider, Florian, 2021. "Tracking the rise of robots: A survey of the IFR database and its applications," MPRA Paper 110390, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Björn Brey, 2022. "The Effect of Recent Technological Change on US Immigration Policy," Working Papers ECARES 2022-34, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    15. Italo Colantone & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Piero Stanig, 2021. "The Backlash of Globalization," CESifo Working Paper Series 9289, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F60 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - General
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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