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