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).


Commerce and Geographic Cleavages: The Agglomeration Effects of NAFTA on Voting (2023), SSRN Working Paper  (under review)

Abstract: Globalization has created a ``Great Divergence’’ in economic opportunities between prosperous cities and de-industrializing peripheries, which contradicts theories of voting that emphasize class, industry, and occupation. To explore electoral implications, I introduce agglomeration externalities---i.e., economic spillovers between neighboring voters. In places with large trade externalities, voters align with their regional economy rather than other labor market identities. To identify voters’ trade exposure through regional spillovers versus industry employment, I use an exogenous shock to Mexican net imports following NAFTA’s implementation. Within exposed commuter zones, employment losses extended far beyond those jobs directly engaged in US-Mexico trade. These externalities substantially increased regional vote shares for Ross Perot, the anti-trade populist, in the 1992-1996 presidential elections. Individual panel data show that support for Perot was driven by NAFTA’s spillover effects rather than direct industry effects, and largely reflected material concerns. Trade’s agglomeration externalities help explain the spatial concentration of globalization backlashes.

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.


Internal Migration, Trade, and Populism: How the Electoral Effects of Regional Shocks Persist.

Abstract: Declining inter-regional migration impedes local recovery from post-industrial change and exacerbates regional inequalities. To explore the political implications, I incorporate internal migration dynamics into an economic geography theory of trade politics. I argue that the political effects of local trade shocks can persist for decades when migration rates are historically low. I test this using the plausibly exogenous NAFTA trade shock, and explore heterogeneity by the long-run mobility response using five alternative measures of internal migration. I show that NAFTA exposure in the 1990s significantly increased Donald Trump's 2012-2016 change in local vote shares. However, this two-decade-long persistent effect of NAFTA only materialized within regions that lacked a significant migration response. In contrast, places that eventually recovered by shedding excess unemployment via emigration experienced no such backlash. These results are consistent with the moderating impact of emigration on local wages and unemployment following a shock. Given declining mobility rates in the United States, these results suggest a growing political importance of the local economy in globalization politics.

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.