Winners and Losers in International Trade: The Effects on U.S. Presidential Voting

Winners and Losers in International Trade: The Effects on U.S. Presidential Voting. National Bureau of Economic Research. J. Bradford Jensen et al. January 2016.

The paper studies how international trade influences U.S. presidential elections. It expects the positive employment effects of expanding exports to increase support for the incumbent’s party, and job insecurity from import competition to diminish such support. Our national-level models show for the first time that increasing imports are associated with decreasing incumbent vote shares, and increasing exports correlate with increasing vote shares for incumbents. These effects are large and politically consequential. Incumbent parties are particularly vulnerable to losing votes in swing states with high concentrations of low-skilled manufacturing workers with increasing trade exposure. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 71 pages, 963.5 KB].

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