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Did Trump's Trade War Impact the 2018 Election?

Emily J. Blanchard, Chad Bown () and Davin Chor ()
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Emily J. Blanchard: Dartmouth College

No WP19-21, Working Paper Series from Peterson Institute for International Economics

Abstract: We uncover evidence that the US-China trade war was consequential for voting outcomes in the 2018 congressional midterm election. Republican House candidates lost support in counties more exposed to tariff retaliation, but saw no appreciable gains in counties that received more direct US tariff protection. The electoral losses were only modestly mitigated by the US agricultural subsidies announced in summer 2018. Republicans also fared worse in counties that had seen recent gains in health insurance coverage (where efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act may have been more consequential), and where a new federal cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions disadvantaged more taxpayers. Counterfactual calculations suggest that Republicans would have lost ten fewer House seats absent the trade war, in a similar range to either health care or SALT policies in the number of lost seats it can account for.

Keywords: Trade War; Trade Policy; Retaliatory Tariffs; Agricultural Subsidies; Health Insurance Coverage; State and Local Taxes; Voting. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F13 F14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ias, nep-int, nep-isf and nep-pol
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Working Paper: Did Trump's Trade War Impact the 2018 Election? (2020) Downloads
Working Paper: Did Trump's Trade War Impact the 2018 Election? (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: Did Trump's Trade War Impact the 2018 Election? (2019) Downloads
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