Clientelism Versus Social Learning: The Electoral Effects of International Migration

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Authors Tobias Pfutze
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Most research on the effects of international migration on democratic institutions in sending countries focuses on how emigration changes the civic and democratic values of those left behind. Little attention has been given to how the additional income provided by migrant remittances alters the incentive structure of the political actors involved and how this will affect political outcomes. This paper develops a voting model that accounts for the effect of higher income through remittances and shows that its expected effects on voter turnout patterns differ in important ways from those of improved civic values. Taking these predictions to the data, it is shown that, for the case of Mexican municipal elections over the year 2000–2002 period, the empirical evidence strongly supports the notion that international remittances had a positive effect on electoral competitiveness in Mexico by reducing the clientelistic power of the formerly dominant state party (Institutional Revolutionary Party). This result is robust to the use of instrumental variables.
Date of publication 2014
Code Programming Language MATLAB

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