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

  • Paola Conconi

    ()

    (Université Libre de Bruxelles, ECARES and CEPR)

  • Giovanni Facchini

    ()

    (University of Nottingham, Universitá degli Studi di Milano, CEPR, CES-Ifo, IZA and LdA)

  • Max F. Steinhardt

    ()

    (Hamburg Institute for International Economics, LdA and CELSI)

  • Maurizio Zanardi

    ()

    (Université Libre de Bruxelles and ECARES)

Over the last decades, the United States has become increasingly integrated in the world economy. Very low trade barriers and comparatively liberal migration policies have made these developments possible. What drove US congressmen to support the recent wave of globalization? While much of the literature has emphasized the differences that exist between the political economy of trade and migration, in this paper we find that important similarities should not be overlooked. In particular, our analysis of congressional voting between 1970 and 2006 suggests that economic drivers that work through the labor market play an important role in shaping representatives’ behavior on both types of policies. Representatives from more skilled-labor abundant districts are more likely to support both trade liberalization and a more open stance vis-à-vis unskilled immigration. Still, important systematic differences exist: welfare state considerations and network effects have an impact on the support for immigration liberalization, but not for trade; Democratic lawmakers are systematically more likely to support a more open migration stance than their Republican counterparts, whereas the opposite is true for trade liberalization.

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Paper provided by Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London in its series Norface Discussion Paper Series with number 2012031.

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Date of creation: Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nor:wpaper:2012031
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  4. Anna Maria Mayda, 2004. "Who is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants," Development Working Papers 187, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
  5. Giovanni Facchini & Max Steinhardt, 2010. "What drives US Immigration Policy? Evidence from Congressional Roll Call Votes," Development Working Papers 294, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
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  9. Collins, William J & O'Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 1997. "Were Trade and Factor Mobility Substitutes in History?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1661, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Kishore Gawande & Usree Bandyopadhyay, 2000. "Is Protection for Sale? Evidence on the Grossman-Helpman Theory of Endogenous Protection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 139-152, February.
  11. Conconi, Paola & Facchini, Giovanni & Zanardi, Maurizio, 2014. "Policymakers' horizon and trade reforms: The protectionist effect of elections," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 102-118.
  12. Claudia Goldin, 1994. "The Political Economy of Immigration Restriction in the United States, 1890 to 1921," NBER Chapters, in: The Regulated Economy: A Historical Approach to Political Economy, pages 223-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Wellisch, Dietmar & Walz, Uwe, 1998. "Why do rich countries prefer free trade over free migration? The role of the modern welfare state," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(8), pages 1595-1612, September.
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  17. Jens Hainmueller & Michael J. Hiscox, 2005. "Educated Preferences: Explaining Attitudes Toward Immigration in Europe," Others 0505013, EconWPA.
  18. Jorge G. Gonzalez & Nipoli Kamdar, 2000. "Do Not Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor! Determinants of Legislator Voting on Immigration Issues," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 127-143, Spring.
  19. Paola Conconi & Giovanni Facchini & Maurizio Zanardi, 2011. "Policymakers’ Horizon and Trade Reforms," Development Working Papers 311, Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano, University of Milano.
  20. Robert E. Baldwin & Christopher S. Magee, 1998. "Is Trade Policy for Sale? Congressional Voting on Recent Trade Bills," NBER Working Papers 6376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Giovanni Maggi & Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg, 1999. "Protection for Sale: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1135-1155, December.
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  23. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  24. Facchini, Giovanni & Willmann, Gerald, 2005. "The political economy of international factor mobility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 201-219, September.
  25. Ashley S. Timmer & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 1996. "Racism, Xenophobia or Markets? The Political Economy of Immigration Policy Prior to the Thirties," NBER Working Papers 5867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Blonigen, Bruce A & Figlio, David N, 1998. "Voting for Protection: Does Direct Foreign Investment Influence Legislator Behavior?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 1002-14, September.
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