PIPE* Workshop: Foreign Real Estate Investment and Incumbent Party Support in the U.S.

Few economic issues affect people as personally and universally as housing. Yet despite the increasing globalization of housing markets, little is known about its effect on political behavior. This study explores how Chinese investments in U.S. residential property shaped support for the incumbent party. I argue that foreign real estate investment affects incumbent support in two competing ways—the economic benefits of higher home prices increase support while heightened nativism provokes opposition. I show that Chinese investments increase home prices in ZIP codes hosting more Chinese undergraduate students. In turn, rising home prices increase political donations to the incumbent party. However, increased exposure to Chinese investments has an overall negative effect on incumbent support, suggesting that nativist concerns dominate material interests.

About the speaker

Steven Liao is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Riverside. Prior to this, he was a postdoctoral research associate at the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University. His research interests lie in the intersection of political economy and methodology, with a specific focus on international migration. Currently, he is working on projects that examine the influence of multinational corporations on migration policymaking, the politics of foreign real estate investments, big data in international trade, and Chinese Renminbi internationalization. His work has appeared in International Studies Quarterly. Liao received a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in Politics (2015) and a B.A. from National Chengchi University (Taiwan) in Political Science, Economics, and Diplomacy (2008).

 

*Political Institutions & Political Economy