Manufacturing and the 2016 Election: An Analysis of US Presidential Election Data

29 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2017

See all articles by Caroline Freund

Caroline Freund

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics

Dario Sidhu

Peterson Institute for International Economics

Date Written: May 31, 2017

Abstract

Much of the public discourse and media analysis of the surprise outcome of the 2016 US presidential election has emphasized the role of manufacturing workers. This paper examines the importance of manufacturing jobs and job loss as determinants of voting patterns using county-level voting data from recent presidential elections. The share of employment in the manufacturing sector and long-run manufacturing job loss at the county level are not statistically significant in explaining the change in Republican vote shares from 2012 to 2016, when controlling for standard voting determinants. However, the change in the Republican vote share is positively correlated with manufacturing in predominantly white counties and negatively correlated with manufacturing in ethnically diverse counties, with these effects roughly offsetting each other. The paper further shows that this polarization between white and nonwhite manufacturing counties is more closely associated with polarizing candidates than a polarized electorate.

Keywords: identity politics, job loss, voting

JEL Classification: D72, P16

Suggested Citation

Freund, Caroline and Sidhu, Dario, Manufacturing and the 2016 Election: An Analysis of US Presidential Election Data (May 31, 2017). Peterson Institute for International Economics Working Paper No. 17-7. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2983872 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2983872

Caroline Freund (Contact Author)

Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics ( email )

1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Dario Sidhu

Peterson Institute for International Economics ( email )

1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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