Cell Phones and Soybeans: How U.S. Trade with China Affects Unions

Podratsky, Daniel, Economics, University of Virginia
Miller, Amalia, AS-Economics (ECON), University of Virginia

I assess how local area exposure to Chinese import competition affects unions in the U.S. I estimate the effects of import competition at the commuting zone level using administrative data that detail union membership and dues for every union local in the U.S. from 2000-2020. I find there is no statistically significant relationship between import exposure and union membership, dues, or count of locals. Separating my analysis into two time periods, 2000-2010 and 2010-2020, I find that relationships between import exposure and union outcomes change over time. Increases in trade exposure predicted decreases in union membership over 2000-2010 but increases over the subsequent decade. Results among a subgroup of manufacturing unions and another subgroup of health and education unions were similar.

MA (Master of Arts)
Unions China Shock Trade
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