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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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  1. 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.
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  4. Facchini, Giovanni & Steinhardt, Max Friedrich, 2011. "What drives U.S. immigration policy? Evidence from congressional roll call votes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 734-743.
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  7. Paola Conconi & Giovanni Facchini & Maurizio Zanardi, 2012. "Fast-Track Authority and International Trade Negotiations," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/137521, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  8. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2006. "A Dual Policy Paradox: Why Have Trade and Immigration Policies Always Differed in Labor-Scarce Economies?," IZA Discussion Papers 2146, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  17. Paola Conconi & Giovanni Facchini & Maurizio Zanardi, 2011. "Policymakers’ Horizon and Trade Reforms," Development Working Papers 311, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  18. Giovanni Facchini & Maurizio Zanardi, 2014. "Policymakers' Horizon and Trade Reforms: the Protectionist Effect of Elections," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/191190, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  19. Gordon H. Hanson & Antonio Splimbergo, 1999. "Political Economy, Sectoral Shocks, and Border Enforcement," NBER Working Papers 7315, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  22. 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.
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