Study finds relationship between trade-related U.S. job losses and political polarization in Congress

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 - 07:50 in Psychology & Sociology

In recent years economic studies have illuminated the extent to which global trade agreements, while benefitting many consumers, have also led to significant job losses in the U.S.—particularly due to jobs moving to China after 2001. Now a new study co-authored by MIT economist David Autor (along with non-MIT colleagues David Dorn, Gordon Hanson, and Kaveh Majlesi) identifies a political effect from this economic process. From 2002 through 2010, in U.S. congressional districts particularly affected by job losses due to trade, elected members of the House of Representatives becamemore ideologically extreme, with moderates consistently losing out in both parties. Autor spoke to MIT News this week about the headline-grabbing results.

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