Costly jobs: Trade-related layoffs, government compensation, and voting in U.S. elections

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Does globalization's impact on the labor market affect how people vote? I address this question using a new dataset based on plant-level data that measures the impact of foreign competition on the U.S. workforce over an 8-year period. Analyzing change in the president's vote share, I find that voters were substantially more sensitive to the loss of local jobs when it resulted from foreign competition, particularly from offshoring, than to job losses caused by other factors. Yet, I also find that between 2000 and 2004, the anti-incumbent effect of trade-related job losses was smaller in areas where the government certified more of the harmed workers to receive special job training and income assistance. The findings have implications for understanding the impact of international economic integration on voting behavior, as well as for assessing the electoral effect of government programs designed to compensate the losers from globalization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-188
Number of pages23
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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