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

July 2020
Paper No' :

Tags: immigration reforms; roll-call votes; trade reforms

We compare the drivers of U.S. congressmen's votes on trade and migration reforms since the 1970s. 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. © 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd