Home-country institutions are increasingly engaged in reaching out to their emigrants to further their domestic agendas. Using a most-different systems design, I compare two cases in which emigrant outreach is dominated by the state (Philippines and Mexico) and two cases in which it is dominated by parties (Lebanon and the Dominican Republic). My main argument is that each type of outreach results in a different trade-off between electoral mobilization and partisan autonomy. State-led outreach encourages emigrants to transcend partisan divisions but does not mobilize overseas voters. By contrast, party-led outreach generates higher electoral turnout while reproducing and reinforcing sectarian and/or clientelist patterns of interest representation. I conclude with the implications for whether emigrants are likely to play a democratizing role in fragile democracies with serious deficits in participation, representation, and accountability.
International Political Science Review – SAGE
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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