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Supply or demand? Migration and political manipulation in Mexico

Meseguer, Covadonga and Aparicio, Francisco Javier (2012) Supply or demand? Migration and political manipulation in Mexico. Studies in Comparative International Development, 47 (4). pp. 411-440. ISSN 0039-3606

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s12116-012-9116-5


Collective remittances are the money flows sent by hometown associations (HTAs) of migrants from the USA to their communities of origin. In Mexico, the 3 × 1 Program for Migrants matches by three the amounts that HTAs send back to their localities to invest in public projects. In previous research, we found that municipalities ruled by the party of the federal government were more likely to participate in the Program. The political bias in participation and fund allocation may stem from two possible mechanisms: HTAs’ decisions to invest in some municipalities but not in others may reflect migrants’ political preferences (a demand-driven bias). Alternatively, government officials may use the Program to finance their own political objectives (a supply-driven bias). To determine which of these two mechanisms is at work, we studied a 2 × 2 matrix of statistically selected cases of high-migration municipalities in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. We carried out over 60 semistructured interviews with state and municipal Program administrators, local politicians, and migrant leaders from these municipalities. Our qualitative study indicates that migrant leaders are clearly pragmatic and that the political bias found is driven by elected officials strategically using the Program. The bias in favor of political strongholds is reinforced by the Program’s requirements for cooperation among different levels of government. This study casts doubt about the effectiveness of public–private partnerships as valid formulas to reduce political manipulation. It also questions the ability of matching grant programs to reach the areas where public resources are most needed.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 Springer, Part of Springer Science+Business Media
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2013 09:25
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2021 13:18

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