Structural Shocks and Political Participation in the US

69 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2021 Last revised: 23 Aug 2023

See all articles by Marina Chugunova

Marina Chugunova

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Klaus Keller

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

Sampsa Samila

University of Navarra, IESE Business School

Date Written: September 3, 2021

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of the large structural shocks – automation and import competition – on voter turnout during US federal elections from 2000 to 2016. Although the negative income effect of both shocks is comparable, we find that political participation decreases significantly in counties more exposed to industrial robots. In contrast, the exposure to rising import competition does not reduce voter turnout. A survey experiment reveals that divergent beliefs about the effectiveness of government intervention drive this contrast. Our study highlights the role of beliefs in the political economy of technological change.

Keywords: automation, trade, labor demand, voter turnout

JEL Classification: J23, F16, D72

Suggested Citation

Chugunova, Marina and Keller, Klaus and Samila, Sampsa, Structural Shocks and Political Participation in the US (September 3, 2021). Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper No. 21-22, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3929377 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3929377

Marina Chugunova (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Munich, 80539
Germany

Klaus Keller

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition ( email )

Marstallplatz 1
Munich, Bayern 80539
Germany

Sampsa Samila

University of Navarra, IESE Business School ( email )

Avenida Pearson 21
Barcelona, 08034
Spain

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