Borders of Exclusion and Deservingness: Perceptions of Cross-Border Markets and Associated Inequalities, 2019- 2021

About this Session


Thu. 07.04. 16:30



Speaker: Tim Bartley, Co-Authors: Carl Gershenson

National borders structure inequalities in a variety of ways. The “offshoring” of production, for instance, shifts manufacturing jobs from affluent countries to low- and middle-income countries—leaving dislocation and resentment in the former location and a mix of opportunity and exploitation in the latter. Migration from low- and middle-income to affluent countries has some similar features. Immigrant workers experience rising incomes but also marginalization within the receiving society, where they are susceptible to both exploitation and resentment. In this paper, we ask: How do individuals in affluent societies perceive border restrictions, labor protections, and opportunity-exploitation tradeoffs for these parallel processes of offshoring and immigration? How have these perceptions shifted with the tumultuous events of 2020? We utilize new survey data on national samples of U.S. residents collected in 2019, 2020, and 2021, allowing us to examine change and continuity over this tumultuous period. Throughout this period, perceptions of offshoring and immigration are moderately correlated, but with notable divergences in views of labor standards and exploitation. Over time, we find evidence that Americans have become more restrictive in their perceptions of cross-border flows but may also have shifted to a more morally-bounded conception of the inequalities involved in cross-border markets.