Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research

Structural Shocks and Political Participation in the US

Chugunova, Marina; Keller, Klaus; Samila, Sampsa (2021). Structural Shocks and Political Participation in the USMax Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper No. 21-22.

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.

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