The Economic Costs of Democratic Backsliding? Backsliding and State Location Preferences of US Job Seekers

Political checks on democratic backsliding can be ineffective. But, there may be economic costs for backsliding regimes if talented individuals seeking job opportunities prefer to not live in backsliding areas. Of course, factors other than the quality of democracy may be more important to job seekers, limiting the efficacy of this economic check. We test these possibilities in an area characterized as experiencing backsliding—the US states—using a conjoint experiment. We provide hypothetical job opportunities to a sample of US adults in the labor market and another sample of students at a large, selective public university. We find that jobs located in states experiencing democratic backsliding are viewed less favorably. Moreover, some types of backsliding affect willingness to accept a hypothetical job, especially among Democrats in the nonstudent sample.

© 2021 The Journal of Politics

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Work Title The Economic Costs of Democratic Backsliding? Backsliding and State Location Preferences of US Job Seekers
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Open Access
Creators
  1. Michael J. Nelson
  2. Christopher Witko
License CC BY 4.0 (Attribution)
Work Type Article
Publisher
  1. Journal of Politics
Publication Date January 1, 2022
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. https://doi.org/10.1086/715601
Deposited February 17, 2023

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