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Migration, Political Institutions, and Social Networks

Author

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  • Batista, Catia

    (Nova School of Business and Economics)

  • Seither, Julia

    (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)

  • Vicente, Pedro C.

    (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)

Abstract

What is the role of international migrants and, specifically, migrant networks in shaping political attitudes and behavior in migrant sending countries? Our theoretical framework proposes that migration might change individual social identities and thus stimulate intrinsic motivation for political participation, while it may also improve knowledge about better quality political institutions. Hence, international migration might increase political awareness and participation both by migrants and by other individuals in their networks. To test this hypothesis, we use detailed data on different migrant networks (geographic, kinship, and chatting networks), as well as several different measures of political participation and electoral knowledge (self-reports, behavioral, and actual voting measures). These data were purposely collected around the time of the 2009 elections in Mozambique, a country with substantial emigration to neighboring countries – especially South Africa - and with one of the lowest political participation rates in the region. The empirical results show that the number of migrants an individual is in close contact with via regular chatting significantly increases political participation of residents in that village – more so than family links to migrants. Our findings are consistent with both improved knowledge about political processes and increased intrinsic motivation for political participation being transmitted through migrant networks. These results are robust to controlling for self-selection into migration as well as endogenous network formation. Our work is relevant for the many contexts of South-South migration where both countries of origin and destination are recent democracies. It shows that even in this context there may be domestic gains arising from international emigration.

Suggested Citation

  • Batista, Catia & Seither, Julia & Vicente, Pedro C., 2018. "Migration, Political Institutions, and Social Networks," IZA Discussion Papers 11777, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11777
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    Cited by:

    1. Kodila-Tedika, Oasis & Khalifa, Sherif, 2020. "Leaders’ Foreign Travel and Democracy," MPRA Paper 105601, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 26 Jan 2021.
    2. Minh Tran, Ngoc Thi & Cameron, Michael P. & Poot, Jacques, 2017. "International Migration and Institutional Quality in the Home Country: It Matters Where You Go and How Long You Stay!," IZA Discussion Papers 10945, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Tijan L. Bah, 2018. "Occupation-skill mismatch and selection of immigrants: Evidence from the Portuguese labor market," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp1804, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Nova School of Business and Economics, NOVAFRICA.
    4. Catia Batista & Tara McIndoe-Calder & Pedro C. Vicente, 2017. "Return Migration, Self-selection and Entrepreneurship," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 79(5), pages 797-821, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    political participation; social networks; international migration; information; diffusion of political norms; governance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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