Renee Bowen & Lawrence Broz (Program on Political Economy Seminar)


Thursday, February 25, 2021, 4:30pm to 5:45pm


Zoom - see below

Zoom links for Political Economy Seminar are distributed via the seminar's mailing list. You can sign up for the list using this link:

All interested faculty and students are invited to attend.

Today's presenter

Renee Bowen & Lawrence Broz (University of California, San Diego), "The World Trade Organization and U.S. Domestic Politics" (with Marc-Andreas Muendler)


 The Appellate Body (AB) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) was rendered inoperative in December 2019 by the refusal of the United States to approve new members. To what extent do WTO-AB rulings affect U.S. domestic politics? Using two definitions of “U.S. domestic politics” we find empirical support for the local political relevance of WTO-AB rulings. First, using instrumental variable (IV) estimation, we find that voters in U.S. counties that were more exposed to adverse AB rulings were significantly more likely to vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election than for the Republican presidential candidate four years prior. Our IV is derived from a natural experiment in which AB judges are randomly assigned to disputes.  We use the IV to identify the cumulative share of county-level employment in U.S. industries affected by adverse AB rulings between 1995 and 2015.   Second, using IV estimation, we find that when U.S. membership in the WTO was up for Congressional reauthorization in 2000 and 2005, members of Congress representing districts that were more exposed to adverse AB rulings were more likely to vote against reauthorization. We measure “local exposure" with the cumulative share of congressional district employment affected by AB rulings from 1995 to 1999 for the 2000 vote, and from 2003 to 2004 for the 2005 vote. Overall, our results suggest that WTO-AB rulings are salient in U.S. domestic politics and have contributed to a backlash from exposed voters and U.S. legislators.

Co-sponsored by FAS and IQSS, the Program on Political Economy (PE) supports research-related activities that integrate the study of economics and politics, whether by studying economic behavior in the political process or political behavior in the marketplace. In general, positive political economy is concerned with showing how observed differences among institutions affect political and economic outcomes in various social, economic, and political systems and how the institutions themselves change and develop in response to individual and collective beliefs, preferences, and strategies.