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Did Trump's Trade War Impact the 2018 Election?

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  • Emily J. Blanchard
  • Chad P. Bown
  • Davin Chor

Abstract

We find that Republican candidates lost support in the 2018 congressional election in counties more exposed to trade retaliation, but saw no commensurate electoral gains from US tariff protection. The electoral losses were driven by retaliatory tariffs on agricultural products, and were only partially mitigated by the US agricultural subsidies announced in summer 2018. Republicans also fared worse in counties that had seen recent gains in health insurance coverage, affirming the importance of health care as an election issue. A counterfactual calculation suggests that the trade war (respectively, health care) can account for five (eight) of Republicans' lost House seats.

Suggested Citation

  • Emily J. Blanchard & Chad P. Bown & Davin Chor, 2019. "Did Trump's Trade War Impact the 2018 Election?," NBER Working Papers 26434, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26434
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lionel Fontagné & Cecilia Bellora, 2019. "Shooting oneself in the foot? US trade policy coping with Global Value Chains," Post-Print hal-02128135, HAL.
    2. Freund,Caroline & Maliszewska,Maryla & Mattoo,Aaditya & Ruta,Michele, 2020. "When Elephants Make Peace : The Impact of the China-U.S. Trade Agreement on Developing Countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9173, The World Bank.
    3. Cecilia Bellora & Lionel Fontagné, 2019. "Shooting Oneself in the Foot? Trade War and Global Value Chains," Working Papers 2019-18, CEPII research center.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade

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