Globalization and Its (Dis-)Content: Trade Shocks and Voting Behavior

Christian Dippel, Stephan Heblich, Robert Gold

NBER Working Paper No. 21812
Issued in December 2015
NBER Program(s):   ITI   LS   POL

We identify the causal effect of trade-integration with China and Eastern Europe on voting in Germany from 1987 to 2009. Looking at the entire political spectrum, we find that only extreme-right parties respond significantly to trade integration. Their vote share increases with import competition and decreases with export access opportunities. We unpack mechanisms using reduced form evidence and a causal mediation analysis. Two-thirds of the total effect of trade integration on voting appears to be driven by observable labor market adjustments, primarily changes in manufacturing employment. These results are mirrored in an individual-level analysis in the German Socioeconomic Panel.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21812

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