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Globalization and the Demand-Side of Politics: How Globalization Shapes Labor Market Risk Perceptions and Policy Preferences*


Does globalization affect the demand-side of politics, and if so, how? This paper builds on new developments in trade theory to argue that globalization matters, but that its effects on individuals’ perceptions of labor market risk and policy preferences are more heterogenous than previous research has acknowledged. Globalization exposure increases risk perceptions and demands for social protection among low-skilled individuals, but decreases them among high-skilled individuals. This conditional effect is observationally distinct from classic trade models as well as arguments that deindustrialization or ideology predominantly drive such perceptions and preferences. Analyzing cross-national survey data from 16 European countries and focusing both on trade and offshoring, the empirical analyses support the prediction that exposure to globalization affects high- and low-skilled individuals differently, leading to variation in labor market risk perceptions and policy preferences.

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Stefanie Walter, Professor for International Relations and Political Economy, Institute for Political Science, University of Zurich, Affolternstr. 56, Zurich 8037 ( Previous versions of this paper were presented at the ECPR General Conference 2009 and the IPES Annual Meeting 2010. Ruth Beckmann, Linda Maduz, Tobias Rommel and Philipp Trein provided excellent research assistance. The author would like to thank Daniel Finke, Jeff Frieden, Mike Hiscox, Mark Kayser, Philipp Rehm, David Singer, Marco Steenbergen, the participants in the Research Workshop in Political Economy at Harvard University, the IPW Brown Bag Seminar at University of Heidelberg, and the MZES Kolloquium, the IPZ Publication Workshop, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments.

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Political Science Research and Methods
  • ISSN: 2049-8470
  • EISSN: 2049-8489
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