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The political economy of trade and migration: Evidence from the US Congress

  • Conconi, Paola
  • Facchini, Giovanni
  • Steinhardt, Max Friedrich
  • Zanardi, Maurizio

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, and the opposite is true for trade liberalization.

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Paper provided by Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI) in its series HWWI Research Papers with number 136.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:hwwirp:136
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  1. Mayda, Anna Maria & O'Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj & Sinnott, Richard, 2007. "Risk, Government and Globalization: International Survey Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6354, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  4. 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-.
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  6. 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.
  7. Facchini, Giovanni & Willmann, Gerald, 2005. "The political economy of international factor mobility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 201-219, September.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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(7-8), pages 734-743, August.
  11. Mayda, Anna Maria & Rodrik, Dani, 2001. "Why are Some People (and Countries) More Protectionist than Others?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2960, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Paola Conconi & Giovanni Facchini & Maurizio Zanardi, 2012. "Fast-Track Authority and International Trade Negotiations," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/137521, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  13. 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.
  14. Gordon H. Hanson & Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew Slaughter, 2005. "Public Finance and Individual Preferences over Globalization Strategies," NBER Working Papers 11028, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Jens Hainmueller & Michael J. Hiscox, 2005. "Educated Preferences: Explaining Attitudes Toward Immigration in Europe," Others 0505013, EconWPA.
  16. 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.
  17. 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).
  18. Paola Conconi & Giovanni Facchini & Maurizio Zanardi, 2011. "Policymakers’ Horizon and Trade Reforms," Development Working Papers 311, Centro Studi Luca d\'Agliano, University of Milano.
  19. 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.
  20. 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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  23. 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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