Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Mitra, Devashish

Subject Categories

Economics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Re-allocation of labor from less productive sectors to more productive sectors is essential in attaining economic growth. Because only some developing countries achieve productive labor re-allocation, it is important to address the determinant of productive labor re-allocation. Based on this motivation, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 focus on the role of unionization in structural change. In Chapter 1, I provide detailed dynamics by constructing an index for the degree of unionization for each sector in each region of South Korea and Taiwan. The magnitude of growth-enhancing structural change was lowered when a sector in a region had a higher degree of unionization. In addition, this heterogeneous magnitude of structural change across the different degrees of unionization became more explicit after the legalization of democratic labor union confederations. These findings suggest that the institutional properties represented by unionization can affect the dynamics and growth implication of structural change. In Chapter 2, using aggregated cross-country data from 31 countries, I find that a country with higher national labor union density has smaller growth-enhancing structural change if the country has a democratic political regime. Chapter 2 provides external validity to Chapter 1 by confirming consistent implication.

In Chapter 3, using six waves of the Swedish National Election Studies (SNES) survey data, I and my coauthors investigate the determinants of attitudes towards globalization barriers (trade and immigration) and how important these attitudes are in how people vote. In line with the existing results in the literature, we find that more educated and richer voters support freer trade and more immigration. We also find that conservative voters in Sweden are more likely to prefer freer trade but higher immigration barriers. Once various economic and demographic determinants of globalization barrier preferences along with voters' ideologies on a liberal-conservative spectrum are controlled for in the analysis of voting behavior, trade barrier preferences lose their statistical significance while attitudes towards immigration barriers remain significant. This suggests that immigration attitudes affect voting behavior through channels involving identity-driven factors that are different from the channels through which more traditional electoral issues, such as trade barriers, work. Focusing on the anti-globalization Swedish Democrats, we confirm that voters with a greater preference for barriers to immigration were more likely to switch their votes to this party from the 2014 to the 2018 election.


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