Emma  Bingham

Emma Bingham

Scholar Title

MIT EECS | CS+HASS Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar

Research Title

Does Democracy Cause Free Trade?





Research Areas
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Caroline Uhler

In Song Kim


When countries become more democratic, they typically lower barriers to trade. Reducing tariffs encourages trade by making imported products more affordable for consumers. We have a data set of billions of tariffs spanning 28 years, 179 countries, and millions of products. Using this data, we will conduct a causal inference analysis about the effects of democratic political institutions on trade liberalization. How do trade patterns change over the years, especially as polity scores change? Which products or categories of products are driving the trends and how can that be interpreted? Through this study, we hope to help revise the current understanding in political science of the connection between the development of countries and the shifting of trade patterns.


Last semester, I was working on a UROP in political science and we were looking for new computational methods. So when I heard about the Computer Science and Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences (CS+HASS) SuperUROP offering, I knew it was an opportunity I wanted to pursue. I am excited to bring together the techniques from two different fields to try to discover something interesting.

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