Trade Shocks and Politics in Mature Democracies
Traditional political parties have been severely weakened by challenges from increasingly successful far‐left and far‐right parties in both the US and Europe. To what extent is this polarization driven by globalization? This project draws on data from France, in which both trade exposure and political polarization have grown substantially over the past thirty years, to analyze the extent to which global trade exposure shapes patterns of political behavior on both the demand (voter) side of politics, as well as on the less studied supply (elite) side. In the first phase of the project, in which we leverage our original dataset of roll call votes from the French Senate, we provide evidence from instrumental variables models suggesting localized trade shocks increase legislative economic polarization. These effects are magnified among legislators elected by majoritarian (as opposed to proportional representation) rules, as well as for those that hold more than one elected office simultaneously (dual mandates). Building on these initial findings, we propose to further study the relationship between local labor market shocks and political polarization by exploring additional aspects of the supply side of politics (party polarization and candidate entry), as well as demand‐side of politics (polarization in workplace elections for trade union representation).