Rising Inequality as a Threat to the Liberal International Order , International Organization (2021)

(with Ronald Rogowski).

Enduring the Great Recession: Economic Integration in the European Union , The Review of International Organizations (2021)

(with Lauren Peritz, Ryan Weldzius, and Ronald Rogowski).

Global capital markets, housing prices, and partisan fiscal policies , Economics & Politics (2018)

(with Ben W. Ansell and J. Lawrence Broz).


Geographic Mobility and Globalization Backlash: Evidence from the NAFTA Import Shock and Populist Votes for Ross Perot (2022) Job Market Paper.

Abstract: The geographic mobility of citizens significantly influences the political effects of globalization. Within import-shocked regions, immobile voters support anti-trade populism while those who can migrate to globalizing cities favor trade openness. To test this theory, I train a machine learning model on 9.7 million Census observations of actual geographic mobility to predict an individual’s probability of migrating between US commuting zones. I pair this with a panel of voters tracked across the 1992-1996 presidential elections, and a regional import shock from NAFTA between those elections. Among immobile respondents, NAFTA caused a 30 percentage point increase in the probability of voting for the anti-trade populist Ross Perot while mobile voters continued to support mainstream candidates. These patterns are consistent with NAFTA’s effects on respondents’ wages, employment, and trade policy preferences, but not with alternative cultural hypotheses. These findings challenge the growing consensus that economic concerns over trade have only muted political consequences.

Micro-Spatial Inequality and Redistribution: Evidence from the California Millionaires Tax Propositions (2022) Working Paper.

Abstract: Why democracies fail to redistribute income in response to rising inequality remains a significant puzzle in political economy. I argue that voters' demand for redistribution responds chiefly to locally visible changes in housing wealth inequality. In contrast to the national income distribution, changes in housing wealth within local economies are both highly visible and relevant to voters' pocketbooks. To measure ``locally visible inequality,'' I create a new dataset of Gini indices---of both housing value and income inequality---at different levels of geographic aggregation starting from neighborhood Census tracts up to small metropolitan areas. To address endogeneity concerns, I pair this measure with an analysis of changes in Census tract vote shares for California's ``Millionaires Tax,'' a ballot initiative that was approved by voters in 2012 and 2016. The resulting differences-in-differences analysis reveals that within-tract increases in housing wealth inequality (but not in income inequality) caused pro-redistribution vote shares to increase over time. Additionally, this effect decays as the source of inequality occurs farther away. These results suggest that the local economy significantly constrains public support for redistribution.


Scapegoating Globalization: A Text Analysis of Geo-Located Presidential Campaign Speeches.

Abstract: Does local context affect how and when politicians scapegoat globalization? This project uses automated text analysis of geo-coded campaign speeches to measure how much political elites tailor their campaigns to voters’ local context. For the 2016 election, I collect the precise locations and texts of all campaign speeches and use Structural Topic Models to classify the substantive content of 6256 paragraphs. This identifies which paragraphs highlight the local effects of trade where the speech was delivered versus the effects of trade on America’s international standing (a local versus national frame). Consistent with the theory, candidates like Donald Trump overwhelmingly discussed the local effects of trade within manufacturing communities while only emphasizing migration within border communities. In contrast, Hillary Clinton delivered broad messages with relatively little local tailoring. This suggests the populist candidates specifically derive support from constituencies that have locally distinct concerns about globalization.

The Economic Geography of Climate Change Politics (with Luke Sanford).

Abstract: First-hand experience with climate change does not consistently shape voters’ climate policy preferences or political behaviors. This is surprising given the significant economic effects of climate-related hazards within certain regions. We argue that voters’ political reactions to local climate shocks depend on their geographic mobility. Climate change creates regional variation in droughts and floods. Local exposure to these events affects the entire local economy, which elevates the importance of individual geographic mobility for how voters respond. Those who can easily migrate to regions with livable and low variance climates have little incentive to alter their climate policy preferences. By contrast, those anchored to high risk and increasingly vulnerable localities have the greatest incentive to demand policy solutions.