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

Conconi, Paola; Facchini, Giovanni; Steinhardt, Max F.; Zanardi, Maurizio


Paola Conconi

Max F. Steinhardt

Maurizio Zanardi


We compare the drivers of U.S. congressmen's votes on trade and migration reforms since the 1970's. Standard trade theory suggests that trade reforms that lower barriers to goods from less skilled-labor abundant countries and migration reforms that lower barriers to low-skilled migrants should have similar distributional effects, hurting low-skilled U.S. workers while benefiting high-skilled workers. In line with this prediction, we find that House members representing more skilled-labor abundant districts are more likely to support trade and migration reforms that benefit high-skilled workers. Still, important differences exist: Democrats are less supportive of trade reforms than Republicans, while the opposite is true for migration reforms; welfare state considerations and network effects shape votes on migration, but not on trade.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Nov 11, 2019
Print ISSN 0954-1985
Electronic ISSN 1468-0343
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
APA6 Citation Conconi, P., Facchini, G., Steinhardt, M. F., & Zanardi, M. (2019). The political economy of trade and migration: Evidence from the U.S. Congress. Economics and Politics,
Keywords Trade reforms; immigration reforms; roll-call votes


This file is under embargo until Nov 12, 2021 due to copyright restrictions.

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