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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. Anna Maria Mayda & Kevin H. O'Rourke & Richard Sinnott, 2007. "Risk, Government and Globalization: International Survey Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 2006. "A Dual Policy Paradox: Why Have Trade and Immigration Policies Always Differed in Labour-Scarce Economies?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5443, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. 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.
  5. Paola Conconi & Giovanni Facchini & Maurizio Zanardi, 2011. "Policymakers’ Horizon and Trade Reforms," Development Working Papers 311, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  6. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1992. "Protection for Sale," Papers 21-92, Tel Aviv.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Facchini, Giovanni & Steinhardt, Max, 2011. "What Drives U.S. Immigration Policy? Evidence from Congressional Roll Call Votes," IZA Discussion Papers 5561, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Paola Conconi & Giovanni Facchini & Maurizio Zanardi, 2008. "Fast Track Authority and International Trade Negotiations," Development Working Papers 246, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  11. Mayda, Anna Maria, 2004. "Who Is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes toward Immigrants," IZA Discussion Papers 1115, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  14. Gordon H. Hanson & Kenneth Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2007. "Public Finance And Individual Preferences Over Globalization Strategies," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(1), pages 1-33, 03.
  15. Claudia Goldin, 1993. "The Political Economy of Immigration Restriction in the United States, 1890 to 1921," NBER Working Papers 4345, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Why Do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 997-1032, October.
  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. Hanson, G.H. & Spilimbergo, A., 1999. "Political Economy, Sectoral Shocks, and Border Enforcement," Working Papers 449, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  20. Collins, W-J & O'Rourke, K-H & Williamson, J-G, 1997. "Were Trade and Factor Mobility Substitutes in History?," Papers 97/15, College Dublin, Department of Political Economy-.
  21. Anna Maria Mayda (Georgetown University) and Dani Rodrik (Harvard University), 2005. "Why are some people (and countries) more protectionist than others?," Working Papers gueconwpa~05-05-11, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  22. Facchini, Giovanni & Willmann, Gerald, 2005. "The political economy of international factor mobility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 201-219, September.
  23. Hainmueller, Jens & Hiscox, Michael J., 2007. "Educated Preferences: Explaining Attitudes Toward Immigration in Europe," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(02), pages 399-442, April.
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