Advertisement

Unpacking the Diaspora Channel in New Democracies: When Do Migrants Act Politically Back Home?

  • Katrina BurgessEmail author
Article

Abstract

Migrant influence on politics back home has arguably become broader and deeper in the wake of a widespread convergence between out-migration and democratization. This article seeks to identify the structural conditions under which migrants from post-1980 democracies are likely to activate the “diaspora channel” of political influence back home. Specifically, I identify, explain, and code two sets of incentives likely to induce migrants to engage in home-country politics from abroad: (1) socioeconomic incentives generated by cross-border linkages and migrant characteristics likely to predispose them toward broader forms of transnational engagement and (2) political incentives generated by diaspora politicization and formal access to the political process in the home country. I score these incentives in 40 developing countries and then generate hypotheses about the degree to which migrants from these countries are likely to activate the diaspora channel through participation in home-country elections, lobbying for policy changes by the home-country government, or transnational coproduction.

Keywords

Migration Democracy Diaspora Transnationalism 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The author would like to thank her research assistants for their invaluable help, as well as Joy Langston, Deepak Lamba-Nieves, Covadonga Meseguer, and the reviewers for their detailed comments on earlier drafts, which were presented at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) in Mexico City and the Transnational Studies Initiative at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA.

References

  1. Agunias Rannveig D, Newland K. Developing a road map for engaging diasporas in development. Geneva: International Organization of Migration and Migration Policy Institute; 2012.Google Scholar
  2. Baker B. Cape Verde: the most democratic nation in Africa? J Mod Afr Stud. 2006;44(04):493–511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Basedau M, Stroh A. Ethnicity and party systems in francophone sub-Saharan Africa. Rochester: Social Science Research Network; 2009.Google Scholar
  4. Bastia T. From mining to garment workshops: Bolivian migrants in Buenos Aires. J Ethn Migr Stud. 2007;33(4):655–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bouvier C. La Diáspora Dominicana. Una Movilización Por Hacerse. Paris: Enda Europa y Enda República Dominicana; 2009.Google Scholar
  6. Burean T. Political participation by the Romanian diaspora. In: King RF, Sum PE, editors. Romania under Basescu: aspirations, achievements and frustrations during his first presidential term. Lanham: Lexington Books; 2011.Google Scholar
  7. Castles S. Comparing the experience of five major emigration countries. Oxford: International Migration Institute, University of Oxford. Working paper no. 7. 2007.Google Scholar
  8. Castles S, Miller MJ. The age of migration. 4th ed. New York: Palgrave USA; 2009.Google Scholar
  9. Chant S, Radcliffe SA. Migration and development: the importance of gender. In: Chant S, editor. Gender and migration in developing countries. London: Belhaven; 1992.Google Scholar
  10. Chelius LC, ed. Votar En La Distancia: La Extension de Los Derechos Politicos a Migrantes, Experiencias Comparadas (Contemporanea Sociologia). Instituto Mora. 2003.Google Scholar
  11. Corcoran K. Leveraging remittances in eastern Europe: rebuilding relationships and incentivizing cooperation for economic development. MALD thesis. Fletcher School, Tufts University. 2013.Google Scholar
  12. Danforth LM. The Macedonian conflict: ethnic nationalism in a transnational world. Princeton: Princeton University Press; 1997.Google Scholar
  13. Diatta MA, Mbow N. Releasing the development potential of return migration: the case of Senegal. Int Migr. 1999;37(1):243–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile Moldova. 2008.Google Scholar
  15. Fernandez de Castro R, Zamora RG, Freyer AV, editors. El Programa 3X1 Para Migrantes: Primera Política Transnacional en Mexico? Mexico, DF: ITAM, UAZ, Miguel Angel Porrua; 2006.Google Scholar
  16. Gallina A. Migration and development linkage in Ecuador. In: Federico Caffe Centre Research Reports Nr. 3. Roskilde: Roskilde University; 2007.Google Scholar
  17. Gamlen A, Cummings M, Vaaler PM, Rossouw L. Explaining the rise of diaspora institutions. Oxford: International Migration Institute, University of Oxford. Working paper 78. 2013.Google Scholar
  18. Gilbert B. Going rate for a vote in Lebanon? $700. GlobalPost. 2009. http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/lebanon/090602/going-rate-vote-lebanon-700.
  19. Glennerster R, Miguel E, Rothenberg A. Collective action in diverse Sierra Leone communities. Unpublished manuscript. 2011.Google Scholar
  20. Glickhouse R, Keller M. Explainer: expatriate voting laws in Latin America. New York: Americas Society/Council of the Americas; 2012.Google Scholar
  21. Goldring L. The gender and geography of citizenship in Mexico–U.S. transnational spaces. Identities. 2001;7(4):501–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gonzalez Gutierrez C. The Institute of Mexicans Abroad: an effort to empower the diaspora. In: Rannveig Agunias D, editor. Closing the distance: how governments strengthen ties with their diasporas. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute; 2009. p. 87–98.Google Scholar
  23. Grismon A, Paz Soldán E. Migrantes Bolivianos En La Argentina Y Estados Unidos. La Paz: Cuaderno de Futuro 7, Programa de las Naciones Unidos Para el Desarrollo (PNUD); 2000.Google Scholar
  24. Guarnizo L, Portes A, Haller W. Assimilation and transnationalism: determinants of transnational political action among contemporary migrants. Am J Sociol. 2003;108(6):1211–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Howard MM. The weakness of civil society in post-communist Europe. New York: Cambridge University Press; 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Huntington SP. The Third Wave: democratization in the late twentieth century. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press; 1991.Google Scholar
  27. Ionescu D. Engaging diasporas as development partners for home and destination countries. Geneva: International Organization for Migration; 2006.Google Scholar
  28. Iskander N. Creative state: forty years of migration and development policy in Morocco and Mexico. Ithaca: Cornell University Press; 2010.Google Scholar
  29. Itzigsohn J, Saucedo SG. Immigrant incorporation and sociocultural transnationalism. Int Migr Rev. 2002;36(3):766–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jones-Correa M. Different paths: gender, immigration and political participation. Int Migr Rev. 1998;32(2):326–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kandel W, Massey DS. Culture of Mexican migration: a theoretical and empirical analysis. Soc Forces. 2001;80:981.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kapur D. Diaspora, development, and democracy: the domestic impact of international migration from India. Princeton: Princeton University Press; 2010.Google Scholar
  33. Kenyan Elections: Only 960 Kenyans Register to Vote in Uganda. 2013. Uganda Radio Network. http://ugandaradionetwork.com/a/story.php?s=50251.
  34. Lafleur JM. Transnational politics and the state: the external voting rights of diasporas. Oxford: Routledge; 2013.Google Scholar
  35. Levitt P. The transnational villagers. Berkeley: University of California Press; 2001.Google Scholar
  36. Levitt P, Lamba-Nieves D. It’s not just the economy, stupid. Migration Information Source. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute; 2010.Google Scholar
  37. Lieber MA. Elections beyond borders: overseas voting in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, 1994–2008. Ph.D. dissertation. Department of Political Science, Brown University. 2010.Google Scholar
  38. Lindberg SI, Morrison MK. Are African voters really ethnic or clientelistic? Survey evidence from Ghana. Political Sci Quart. 2008;123(1):95–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lubkemann S. Remittance relief and not-just-for-profit entrepreneurship: the case of Liberia. In: Brinkerhoff J, editor. Diasporas and development: exploring the potential. Boulder: Lynne Rienner; 2008.Google Scholar
  40. Macalou BA. Creating partnerships with diasporas: the Malian experience. In: Rannveig Agunias D, editor. Closing the distance: how governments strengthen ties with their diasporas. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute; 2009. p. 69–85.Google Scholar
  41. Marshall M, Jaggers K. Polity IV Project: political regime characteristics and transitions, 1800–2009. 2009. http://www.systemicpeace.org/inscr/inscr.htm.
  42. Mohan G. Making neoliberal states of development: the Ghanaian diaspora and the politics of homelands. Environ Plan D Soc Space. 2008;26(3):464–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mondak JJ, Gearing AF. Civic engagement in a post-communist state. Polit Psychol. 1998;19(3):615–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Moniba C. Diaspora Advisory Board established to help ‘Lift Liberia’. Liberian J. 2009. http://m97.1a.sl.pt.
  45. Navarro Fierro C, Morales I, Gratschew M. External voting: a comparative overview. In: Ellis A, Navarro Fierro C, Morales I, Wall A, editors. Voting from abroad: the international IDEA handbook. Stockholm: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance; 2007.Google Scholar
  46. Nieswand B. Development and diaspora: Ghana and its migrants. Sociologus. 2009;59(1):17–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Orozco M, Rouse R. Migrant hometown associations and opportunities for development: a global perspective. Washington, DC: Migration Information Source; 2007.Google Scholar
  48. Ostrom E. Crossing the great divide: coproduction, synergy, and development. World Dev. 1996;24(6):1073–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Padilla B. Engagement policies and practices: expanding the citizenship of the Brazilian diaspora. Int Migr. 2011;49(3):10–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Pessar PR, Mahler SJ. Transnational migration: bringing gender. Int Migr Rev. 2003;37(3):812–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Pizarro C. Organizaciones de Inmigrantes Bolivianos En Áreas Peri-Urbanas Argentinas. Prepared for delivery at the 2009 Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 2009.Google Scholar
  52. Portes A. Conclusion: theoretical convergencies and empirical evidence in the study of immigrant transnationalism. Int Migr Rev. 2003;37(3):874–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Portes A, Escobar C, Radford AW. Immigrant transnational organizations and development: a comparative study. Int Migr Rev. 2007;41(1):242–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Posner DN. Regime change and ethnic cleavages in Africa. Comp Polit Stud. 2007;40(11):1302–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Ragazzi F, Balalovska K. Diaspora politics and post-territorial citizenship in Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia. CITSEE working paper series 2011/18, Edinburgh, Scotland. 2011.Google Scholar
  56. Rannveig Agunias D. Institutionalizing diaspora engagement within migrant-origin governments. In: Rannveig Agunias D, editor. Closing the distance: how governments strengthen ties with their diasporas. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute; 2009.Google Scholar
  57. Ratha D, Shaw W. South–South migration and remittances. Washington, DC: World Bank; 2007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Riddle L, Nielsen T. Investing to be heard: the political motivations of diaspora investors. Working Paper presented at Academy of Management, San Antonio, Texas. August 2012.Google Scholar
  59. Rother S. Changed in migration? Philippine return migrants and (un)democratic remittances. Eur J East Asian Stud. 2009;8(2):245–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Sawyer A. Emerging patterns in Liberia’s post-conflict politics: observations from the 2005 elections. Afr Aff. 2008;107(427):177–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Schlozman KL, Burns N, Verba S. Gender and the pathways to participation: the role of resources. J Polit. 1994;56(4):963–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Senegal Gets Rid of Its Senate to Save Money. 2012. CBS News. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57516454/senegal-gets-rid-of-its-senate-to-save-money/. Accessed 6 August 2013.
  63. Smilov D, Jileva E. The politics of Bulgarian citizenship: national identity, democracy and other uses. In: Citizenship policies in the New Europe: expanded and updated edition. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press; 2009. p. 211–45.Google Scholar
  64. Smith MP, Bakker M. Citizenship across borders: the political transnationalism of El Migrante. Ithaca: Cornell University Press; 2008.Google Scholar
  65. Solomon MS. State-led migration, democratic legitimacy, and deterritorialization: the Philippines’ labour export model. Eur J East Asian Stud. 2009;8(2):275–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Stevens V. Diasporas, peacebuilding and reconciliation: a case study of the Liberian diaspora. Washington, DC: University Honors, School of International Service, American University; 2007.Google Scholar
  67. Tacoli C. International migration and the restructuring of gender asymmetries: continuity and change among Filipino labor migrants in Rome. Int Migr Rev. 1999;33(3):658–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Totemayer G. The management of a dominant political party system with particular reference to Namibia. Contribution to an international seminar on Management of Dominant Political Parties, organized by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and FRELIMO, Maputo, Mozambique. 2007.Google Scholar
  69. UNDP. Human development report 2009: overcoming barriers: human mobility and development. New York: Palgrave Macmillan; 2009.Google Scholar
  70. Vargas Y. Dominicanos En El Exterior: De La Participación a La Representatividad. Observatorio Político Dominicano. 2011.Google Scholar
  71. Vertovec S. Trends and impacts of migrant transnationalism. Oxford: University of Oxford. Centre on Migration, Policy and Society working paper no. 3. 2004.Google Scholar
  72. Waldinger R, Lim N. Connectivity and collectivity: immigrant involvement in homeland politics. Unpublished paper. 2009.Google Scholar
  73. Wampler B, Chávez M, De Genova N. Should I stay or should I go? Explaining why most Mexican immigrants are choosing to remain permanently in the United States. Lat Stud. 2009;7(1):83–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Whitaker BE. The politics of home: dual citizenship and the African diaspora1. Int Migr Rev. 2011;45(4):755–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. WHO/UNICEF. Progress in sanitation and drinking-water 2013 update. Geneva: World Health Organization and UNICEF; 2013. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/81245/1/9789241505390_eng.pdf.
  76. World Bank. World Development Indicators. Washington, DC: World Bank Publications; 2010.Google Scholar
  77. World Bank. Migration and remittances factbook 2011. Washington, DC: World Bank; 2011.Google Scholar
  78. Yamanaka K. Civil society and social movements for immigrants rights in Japan and South Korea: convergence and divergence in unskilled immigration policy. Korea Obs. 2010;41(4):615–47.Google Scholar
  79. Young LA, Park R. Engaging diasporas in truth commissions: lessons from the Liberia Truth and Reconciliation Commission Diaspora Project. Int J Transit Justice. 2009;3:341–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Zontini E. Transnational families, migration, and gender: Moroccan and Filipino women in Bologna and Barcelona. Oxford: Berghahn Books; 2010.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fletcher SchoolTufts UniversityMedfordUSA

Personalised recommendations