Sending Back More than Money. The Impact of Labor Migration on Political Participation and Outlook

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Event Date

Andrews Room 2203 SS&H

Presenter: Sandeep Regmi (Political Science)

Title: Sending Back More than Money. The Impact of Labor Migration on Political Participation and Outlook

Abstract: Migration has been shown to affect changes in political behavior in the migrant sending countries. Economic remittances in particular are known to drive these changes through multiple mechanisms, most notably via the income effect. More recent studies have also identified non-monetary transfers, aka social remittances to influence behavioral changes among migrant households. However, most of the research draws conclusions about the impact of migration by studying North-North migration routes and from instances where human movement occurs from a less liberal country to one that is considered more liberal. The paper adds to the literature by quantitatively looking at the South Asian-Gulf migration route using Nepal as a case study. Migration from Nepal which predominantly consists of labor migrants to the Gulf region presents a unique scenario where individuals are migrating from a more liberal country to ones that are considered less liberal as ranked by the Variety of Democracy project. Using survey data from "The Survey of the Nepali People 2020" conducted by The Asia Foundation, I argue that political behavior among migrant households differs based on where family members end up working, thereby hinting towards a destination effect of migration. I find that political participation does indeed vary across migrant households based on where family members migrated to. This finding further proves that the destination effect of migration exists and also suggests varying impact of social remittance in migrant sending countries.

Discussant: Jeremy Rud (Linguistics)


Funding graciously provided by UC Davis Gifford Center for Population Studies.

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