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(With Yu-Ming Liou) International Organization, Volume 76, Issue 3, Summer 2022

What determines public support for trade liberalization? Scholars of international political economy have generally focused on the effects of openness on employment via individuals’ skill level, sector, or occupation. Recent developments in trade economics suggest that the characteristics of individual citizens’ employing firms may also shape their attitudes on trade policy. In this paper, using under-explored survey data combining trade opinion with measures of employer productivity (from the 2008 Japanese General Social Survey), we present evidence that employees of more productive, more globalized firms are much more supportive of trade openness than employees of less productive, domestically oriented firms, even when accounting for skill level and sectoral and occupational characteristics. Moreover, we find evidence that the effects of these characteristics described in the literature are conditioned by globalized firm employment. Last, we find that the effect of globalized firm employment is conditioned by employees’ relative position within their firms. Those who are more likely to benefit directly from firm success—such as permanent employees and managers—hold the most pro-trade preferences. These findings suggest that economic interests affect individual policy preferences in more nuanced ways than previously recognized.

(With Philip Lipscy) International Organization, Volume 73, Issue 1, Winter 2019

Scholars have debated whether the International Monetary Fund (IMF) generates moral hazard – encouraging irresponsible behavior by reducing the costs of risky lending and policies.  However, this has been difficult to test empirically.  We argue that the IMF creates a biased global insurance mechanism – distributing moral hazard unevenly across the international system.  Using a panel data set covering 1980-2010, we show that IMF members expected to exercise strong influence over the institution’s decisions tend to be associated with outcomes indicative of moral hazard: more generous treatment by the IMF, lower reserves, and more frequent currency crises.  Countries that lack such influence behave very differently, pursing aggressive self-insurance through reserve accumulation.  We support our causal claims by using the synthetic control method to examine Taiwan’s expulsion from the IMF in 1980: consistent with our theory, expulsion led to a sharp increase in international reserves. 

(With Robert Kubinec and Andrey Tomashevskiy) 
Social Science Quarterly, Volume 102, Issue 5, 2021

While the aim of COVID-19 policies is to suppress the pandemic, many fear that the burden of the restrictions will fall more heavily on less privileged groups. We show one potential mechanism for COVID-19 responses to increase inequality by examining the intersection of business restrictions and business political connections. We fielded an online survey of 2735 business employees and managers in Ukraine, Egypt, and Venezuela over the summer of 2020 to collect data on companies' closures due to COVID-19 and nuanced information about their political connections. We show that businesses with political connections to government officials were significantly less likely to shut down as a result of COVID-19 policies. This finding suggests that measures designed to mitigate COVID-19 are ineffective in countries with a weak rule of law if politically connected firms are able to circumvent restrictions by leveraging political connections to receive preferential treatment. In addition, politically connected firms are no more likely—and sometimes even less likely—to engage in social-distancing policies to mitigate the pandemic despite the fact that they are more likely to remain open.

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