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Return migration, crime, and electoral engagement in Mexico

Ambrosius, Christian and Meseguer, Covadonga (2020) Return migration, crime, and electoral engagement in Mexico. Electoral Studies, 66. ISSN 0261-3794

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.electstud.2020.102161


Since 2006, the Great Recession and tighter migration policies in the U.S. have increased the rates of return migration to Mexico. Scholars debate whether high rates of return motivate greater electoral engagement via the democratic norms returnees may bring back with them. An alternative account holds that returnees are seen as dissimilar by their non-migrant co-nationals, causing returnees to disengage from politics. We contribute to this debate using municipal data on voter turnout and on rates of return migration for the case of Mexico from 2000 to 2010. Relying on an instrumental strategy that exploits migrants’ exposure to changes in unemployment rates as an exogenous predictor for return, we find robust evidence that high rates of return result in less electoral participation in presidential and local elections. Besides, electoral disengagement seems to be intensified by the presence of criminal violence, which surged during our period of analysis. Return migration may have a positive impact on other modes of political participation; but at least when it comes to voting, our research aligns with the pessimistic camp of the debate in that return migration increases electoral apathy.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 Elsevier Ltd
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
J Political Science > JL Political institutions (America except United States)
Date Deposited: 04 May 2020 09:33
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2021 23:00

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