"Remittances and Preferences for Redistribution Through the Global Financial Crisis"
The literature on the political economy of remittances largely agrees that as households receive income from migrants abroad, they will be less dependent on government goods and patronage. The underlying assumption is that remittance inflows are stable or increasing. The global economic recession of 2008/2009 led to major declines in remittance inflows. This paper asks two different but related questions: 1) Do remittance recipients support redistribution? and 2) Do preferences for redistribution change following a negative shock to remittances? Using three waves of survey data, I find that remittance recipients diverge from non-recipients in favoring redistribution following the global economic crisis. I test for possible mechanisms such as dependence on remittances and relative income levels to explain this change in preferences. I find that respondents who are more dependent on remittances are more likely to favor redistribution following the economic crisis.
"Democracy Diffused or Defused?: Migrant Exchanges, Political Attitudes, and the Honduran Coup of 2009"
Can international ties between citizens and migrants abroad foster pro-democracy attitudes in countries with weak (and failing) democratic institutions? Migration can promote democratization to the country of origin through financial remittances (the transfer of migrant income) and social remittances (the transfer of norms and ideas). Using survey data from the Americas Barometer, this paper examines the political attitudes of Honduran citizens before and after the political crisis of 2009, which resulted in the overthrow and expulsion of President Zelaya. I analyze whether Hondurans with family ties in the United States hold stronger democratic attitudes than the rest of the population, and if those attitudes persisted after the coup. There is evidence for the pro-democratic effects of migration prior to the coup. Surprisingly, I find that Hondurans with family ties to the United States are more tolerant of coups and pessimistic about democracy after the political crisis. The change in attitudes is largely driven by those who are financially dependent on remittances as opposed to those who hold frequent communication with relatives abroad.
"Remittances, Regime Type, and Social Spending in the Developing World" with Lauren Duquette-Rury
How do migrant remittances influence patterns of national social spending and to what extent does their influence vary across different political regimes? Previous research finds remittances are a political curse to social spending. Research argues autocracies spend more on corruption thereby diverting resources from other spending categories in the presence of remittances. Other research contends remittances produce a similar spending decline in democracies because household recipients demand less redistribution and elect right-leaning political parties with conservative spending agendas. Using an original panel data set containing migrant remittances and disaggregated data on social spending including education, health, and social protection, the authors find compelling evidence that remittance produce different spending patterns conditional on regime type across the developing world. These results are robust to using a geographic instrumental variable approach and a case study of subnational variation in Mexico. Findings suggest “hard” authoritarian regimes spend more on education, but less on health and social protections to finance corruption with increasing remittances, while intermediate political regimes behave more like democracies.
"Democratic Quality and Emigration from Latin America"
"Inspecting the Safety Valve: Remittances and Protests in Sub-Saharan Africa"
"How Remittances Influence Local Politics in El Salvador"