Cross-Border Discussions and Political Behavior in Migrant-Sending Countries

  • Clarisa Pérez-Armendáriz


Even when émigrés living abroad versus returning migrants share similar norms, knowledge, practices, and ideas with non-migrants living in their origin country, émigrés have a stronger influence on non-migrants’ political beliefs and behaviors. The reason is that outmigration affects the social ties in which discussions between émigrés abroad and non-migrants are embedded, making them more cohesive and asymmetrical. In contrast, returning permanently to the origin country reverses these effects.


Diaspora International migration Political behavior Political communication 



The author thanks Katrina Burgess, Covadonga Messeguer, and the anonymous reviewers for comments on earlier drafts, and Francisco Javier Martínez Rodríguez, Eva Rodríguez Rodríguez, Juan Pelcastre, Hilda Hernández, Clara Armendáriz Beltrán, Iván Pérez-Méndez, and Dhariana Gonzalez for their research assistance. I also am indebted to all who participated in interviews.


  1. Acharya A. How ideas spread: whose norms matter? Norm localization and institutional change in Asian regionalism. Int Organ. 2004;58(2):239–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adams R, Cuecuecha A. Remittances, household expenditure and investment in Guatemala. World Dev. 2010;38(11):1626–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Basch L, Blanc-Szanton C, Schiller N. Nations unbound: transnational projects, postcolonial predicaments, and deterritorialized nation-states. London: Gordon and Breach; 1994.Google Scholar
  4. Bean FD, Brown SK, & Rumbaut RG. Mexican immigrant political and economic incorporation. Perspectives on Politics, 2006;4(02):309–13.Google Scholar
  5. Berelson B, Lazarsfeld P, McPhee W. Voting: a study of opinion formation in a presidential campaign. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1954.Google Scholar
  6. Borraz F. Assessing the impact of remittances on schooling: the Mexican experience. Glob Econ J. 2005;5(9):1–30.Google Scholar
  7. Bourdieu P. Distinction: A social critique of the judgment of taste Harvard University Press; 1984.Google Scholar
  8. Brady H, Sniderman P. Attitude attribution: a group basis for political reasoning. Am Polit Sci Rev. 1985;79(4):1061–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bravo J. Emigración y compromiso político en México. Política y Gobierno: Volumen Tematico 2009; 273–310.Google Scholar
  10. Brubaker R. Citizenship and nationhood in France and Germany. New York: Cambridge Univ Press; 1992.Google Scholar
  11. Burt R. Social contagion and innovation: cohesion versus structural equivalence. Am J Sociol. 1987;92(6):1287–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Campos Vázquez RM, Lara Lara J. Self selection patterns among return migrants: Mexico 1990-2010. 2011. Paper provided by El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos in its series Serie documentos de trabajo del Centro de Estudios Económicos with number 2011-09. Retrieved from
  13. Checkel JT. International norms and domestic politics: bridging the rationalist–constructivist divide. Eur J Int Relat. 1997;3(4):473–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chwe MS. Communication and Coordination in Social Networks. Rev Econ Stud. 2000;67(1):1–16.Google Scholar
  15. CIDAC-Zogby. Encuesta: México y Estados Unidos. Cómo miramos al vecino. Mexico, D.F.: Centro de Investigación para el Desarrollo en México; 2006.Google Scholar
  16. Cohen J. Transnational migration in rural Oaxaca, Mexico: dependency, development, and the household. Am Anthropol. 2001;103(4):954–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Conway D, Cohen J. Consequences of migration and remittances for Mexican transnational communities. Econ Geogr. 1998;74(1):26–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Córdova A. & Hiskey J. Migrant Networks and Democracy in Latin America. Unpublished working paper, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN; 2010Google Scholar
  19. Coutin S. Nations of emigrants: shifting boundaries of citizenship in El Salvador and the United States. Ithaca: Cornell University Press; 2007.Google Scholar
  20. Edwards AC, & Ureta, M. International migration, remittances, and schooling: evidence from El Salvador. J Dev Econ. 2003;72(2);429–61.Google Scholar
  21. Elkins Z. Constitutional networks. In: Kahler M, editor. Networked politics: agency, power, and governance. Ithaca: Cornell University Press; 2009. p. 43–63.Google Scholar
  22. Faist T. The volume and dynamics of international migration and transnational social spaces. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2000.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. FitzGerald DS. A nation of emigrants: how Mexico manages its migration. Berkeley: University of California Press; 2009.Google Scholar
  24. FitzGerald DS. Immigrant impacts in Mexico: a tale of dissimilation. In: Eckstein SE, Najam A, editors. How immigrants impact their homelands. Durham: Duke University Press; 2013. p. 114–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. George A, Bennett A. Case studies and theory development in the social science. Cambridge: MIT Press; 2005.Google Scholar
  26. George A, McKeown T. Case studies and theories of organizational decision-making. In: Coulam R, Smith R, editors. Advances in information processing in organizations, vol. 6. Greenwich: JAI Press; 1985. p. 21–58.Google Scholar
  27. Granovetter MS. The strength of weak ties. Am J Sociol. 1973;78:1360–80.Google Scholar
  28. Hafner-Burton EM, Kahler M, Montgomery AH. Network analysis for international relations. Int Organ. 2009;63(3):559–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Huckfeldt R, Beck P. Political environments, cohesive social groups, and the communication of public opinion. Am J Polit Sci. 1995;39(4):1025.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Huckfeldt R, Sprague J. Discussant effects on vote choice: intimacy, structure, and interdependence. J Polit. 1991;53:122–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Huckfeldt R, Sprague J. Citizens, politics and social communication: information and influence in an election campaign. New York: Cambridge University Press; 1995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Itzigsohn J, Saucedo SG. Immigrant incorporation and sociocultural transnationalism1. Int Migr Rev. 2002;36(3):766–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kapur D. Diaspora, development, and democracy: the domestic impact of international migration from India. Princeton: Princeton University Press; 2010.Google Scholar
  34. Katz E, Lazarsfeld P. Personal influence. Glencoe: The Free Press; 1955.Google Scholar
  35. Kenny C. The microenvironment of attitude change. J Polit. 1994;56(3):715–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kenny C. The behavioral consequences of political discussion: another look at discussant effects on vote choice. J Polit. 1998;60(1):231–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Klofstad C. Talk leads to recruitment: how discussions about politics and current events increase civic participation. Polit Res Q. 2007;60(2):180–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kotler-Berkowitz L. Ethnicity and political behavior among American Jews: findings from the National Jewish Population Survey 2000–01. Contemp Jew. 2005;25:132–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Latané B. The psychology of social impact. Am Psychol. 1981;36(4):343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lazarsfeld P, Berelson B, Gaudet H. The people’s choice: how the voter makes up his mind in a presidential campaign. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce; 1944.Google Scholar
  41. Levitt P. The transnational villagers. Berkeley: University of California Press; 2001.Google Scholar
  42. Levitt P, Jaworsky B. Transnational migration studies: past developments and future trends. Annu Rev Sociol. 2007;33(1):129–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lupia A, McCubbins M, editors. The democratic dilemma: can citizens learn what they need to know? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1998.Google Scholar
  44. Mahler S. Theoretical and empirical contributions toward a research agenda for transnationalism. In: Smith M, Guarnizo L, editors. Transnationalism from below. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers; 1998.Google Scholar
  45. Mann M. The autonomous power of the state: its origins, mechanisms and results. European Journal of Sociology; 1984;25(02):185–13.Google Scholar
  46. Marsden PV. Restricted access in networks and models of power. Am J Sociol. 1983;88(4):686–717.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Massey D. Social structure, household strategies, and the cumulative causation of migration. Popul Index. 1990;56(1):3–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Massey D, Arango J, Hugo G, Kouaouci A, Pellegrino A, Taylor J. Theories of international migration: a review and appraisal. Popul Dev Rev. 1993;19:431–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. McCann JA, Cornelius W, & Leal D. Engagement in campaigns and elections south of the border pull Mexican immigrants away from US politics? Evidence from the 2006 Mexican expatriate study. Article presented at the Latin American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Montreal; 2007.Google Scholar
  50. Mutz DC. The consequences of cross-cutting networks for political participation. Am J Polit Sci. 2002;46(4):838–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Niven D. The mobilization solution? Face-to-face contact and voter turnout in a municipal election. J Polit. 2004;66(3):869–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Orozco M, Lowell BL, Bump M, Fedewa R. Transnational engagement, remittances and their relationship to development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Washington, DC: Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University; 2005.Google Scholar
  53. Pérez-Armendáriz C. Do migrants remit democratic beliefs and behaviors? A theory of migrant-led international diffusion. Doctoral Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin; 2009.Google Scholar
  54. Pérez-Armendáriz C, Crow D. Do migrants remit democracy? International migration, political beliefs, and behavior in Mexico. Comp Polit Stud. 2010;43(1):119–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Portes A, Landoldt P. Social capital: promise and pitfalls of its role in development. J Lat Am Stud. 2000;32:529–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Pries L. The Disruption of Social and Geographic Space Mexican-US Migration and the Emergence of Transnational Social Spaces. Int Sociol. 2001;16(1):55–74.Google Scholar
  57. Putnam RD. Bowling alone. New York: Simon and Schuster; 2001.Google Scholar
  58. Quintelier E, Stolle D, Harell A. Politics in peer groups: exploring the causal relationship between network diversity and political participation. Polit Res Q. 2012;65(4):868–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Smith R. Mexican New York: transnational lives of new immigrants. Berkeley: University of California Press; 2006.Google Scholar
  60. Sniderman P, Brody R, Tetlock P. Reasoning and choice: explorations in political psychology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1991.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Soehl T, Waldinger R. Making the connection: Latino immigrants and their cross-border ties. Ethn Racial Stud. 2010;33(9):1489–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. The Americas Barometer by the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP); 2008.
  63. Waldinger R. Between “here” and “there”: immigrant cross-border activities and loyalties. Int Migr Rev. 2008;42(1):3–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Waldinger RD. A limited engagement: Mexico and its diaspora. The selected works of Roger D. Waldinger; 2009. Available at
  65. Waldinger RD, FitzGerald D. Transnationalism in question. Am J Sociol. 2004;109(5):1177–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Walzer M. Liberalism and the Art of Separation. Political Theory; 1984;12(3);315–330.Google Scholar
  67. Warnes T. Migration and the course of life. In: Champion A, Fielding T, editors. Migration processes and patterns. London: Belhaven; 1992. p. 174–87.Google Scholar
  68. Weyland KG. Theories of policy diffusion: lessons from Latin American pension reform. World Politics. 2005;57(2):262–295.Google Scholar
  69. Wong R, Palloni A, Soldo BJ. Wealth in middle and old age in Mexico: the role of international migration. Int Migr Rev. 2007;41:127–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bates CollegeLewistonUSA

Personalised recommendations