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Voice of the diaspora: An analysis of migrant voting behavior

  • Fidrmuc, Jan
  • Doyle, Orla

This paper utilizes a unique dataset on votes cast by Czech and Polish migrants in recent national elections in their home countries. The political preferences of migrants as manifested by their voting behavior are strikingly different from those of their home-country counterparts. In addition, there are important differences in voting patterns across migrants living in different countries. We examine three explanations of migrant voting behavior: adaptive learning; economic self-selection; and political self-selection. Our results suggest that migrant voting behavior is affected by the institutional environment of the host countries, in particular the democratic tradition and the extent of economic freedom. There is little evidence that differences in migrants' political attitudes are caused by pre-migration self-selection with regard to political attitudes, or with regard to economic considerations. The results indicate that the political preferences of migrants change significantly in the wake of migration as migrants adapt to the norms and values prevailing in the host country. This change away from home could be the catalyst of a corresponding change at home.

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Paper provided by ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn in its series ZEI Working Papers with number B 02-2005.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zeiwps:b022005
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  1. Fidrmuc, J., 1998. "Political Support for Reforms : Economics of Voting in Transition Countries," Discussion Paper 1998-98, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. James E. Rauch & Vitor Trindade, 2002. "Ethnic Chinese Networks In International Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 116-130, February.
  3. Kevin Hoover & Stephen J. Perez, 2003. "Data Mining Reconsidered: Encompassing And The General-To-Specific Approach To Specification Search," Working Papers 9727, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  4. Beck, Thorsten & Clarke, George & Groff, Alberto & Keefer, Philip & Walsh, Patrick, 2000. "New tools and new tests in comparative political economy - the database of political institutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2283, The World Bank.
  5. Rachel M. Friedberg, 1996. "You Can't Take It With You? Immigrant Assimilation and the Portability of Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 5837, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. George J. Borjas, 1988. "Immigration And Self-Selection," NBER Working Papers 2566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Micael Castanheira, . "Why Vote for Losers?," Working Papers 125, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  8. Magnus Lofstrom, 2002. "Labor market assimilation and the self-employment decision of immigrant entrepreneurs," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 83-114.
  9. Piketty, Thomas, 2000. "Voting as Communicating," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 169-91, January.
  10. Nannestad, Peter & Paldam, Martin, 1994. " The VP-Function: A Survey of the Literature on Vote and Popularity Functions after 25 Years," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 79(3-4), pages 213-45, June.
  11. George J. Borjas, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 2248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Paul W. Miller & Barry R. Chiswick, 2002. "Immigrant earnings: Language skills, linguistic concentrations and the business cycle," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 31-57.
  13. Joop Hartog & Rainer Winkelmann, 2003. "Comparing migrants to non-migrants: The case of Dutch migration to New Zealand," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 683-705, November.
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