Development Context and the Political Behavior of Remittance Recipients in Latin America and the Caribbean
Remittances have become a chief source of family income in developing countries. As such, these revenue streams have the potential to impact recipients’ political behavior. Empirical studies investigating this proposition, however, have yielded seemingly contradictory findings. We develop a theoretical framework that highlights the importance of national development context in understanding the distinct cross-national political behavior patterns between remittance recipients and non-recipients. Leveraging the variations in development levels across 24 Latin American countries, we evaluate propositions derived from this contention that the political implications of remittances depend in part on the development context into which they flow. We find evidence for a posited inverse relationship between development levels and the extent to which receipt of remittances induces political participation. We argue these divergent patterns emerge from the asymmetrical effect remittances have on the economic perceptions and cross-border ties of recipients living in distinct development contexts.
KeywordsPolitical participation Remittances Migration Development
The authors are thankful to the editors of Political Behavior and anonymous reviewers for their excellent feedback. Abby Córdova also thanks the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame for supporting her research with a visiting fellowship, which allowed her to work on this project. The data and code to replicate the results reported in this paper can be found in the Political Behavior data archive in Dataverse.
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