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

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IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 27.11.2012, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Giovanni Facchini (University of Nottingham)


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 diff erences that exist between the political economy of trade and migration, in this paper we fi nd 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--vis unskilled immigration. Still, important systematic diff erences exist: welfare state considerations and network e ffects 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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