Professor Burgess examines transnational politics in "Unpacking the Diaspora Channel in New Democracies: When Do Migrants Act Politically Back Home?"

Studies in Comparative International Development

Published by Studies in Comparative International Development 49:1 (2014)
Migrant influence on politics back home has arguably become broader and deeper in the wake of a widespread convergence between out-migration and democratization. This article seeks to identify the structural conditions under which migrants from post-1980 democracies are likely to activate the “diaspora channel” of political influence back home. Specifically, I identify, explain, and code two sets of incentives likely to induce migrants to engage in home-country politics from abroad: (1) socio-economic incentives generated by cross-border linkages and migrant characteristics likely to predispose them toward broader forms of transnational engagement; and (2) political incentives generated by diaspora politicization and formal access to the political process in the home country. I score these incentives in 40 developing countries and then generate hypotheses about the degree to which migrants from these countries are likely to activate the diaspora channel through participation in home-country elections, lobbying for policy changes by the home-country government, or transnational coproduction.