Remittances and Protest in Dictatorships
Abel Escribà (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
Remittances -money migrant workers send back home- are the second largest source of international financial flows in developing countries. As with other sources of international finance, such as oil rents, foreign direct investment and foreign aid, worker remittances shape politics in recipient countries. We examine the political consequences of remittances by exploring how they influence anti-government protest behavior in non-democratic recipient countries. While recent research argues that remittances have a pernicious effect on politics by contributing to authoritarian stability, we argue the opposite: remittances increase political protest in non-democracies by augmenting the resources available to potential political opponents. Using cross-national data on a latent measure of anti-government political protest, we show remittances increase protest. To explore the causal pathway linking remittances to protest, we turn to individual-level data from eight non-democracies in Africa to show that remittance receipt increases protest in opposition regions but not in regime-stronghold regions.
Abel Escribà-Folch is an Associate Professor at the Department of Political and Social Sciences of Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Catalunya). Abel does research in comparative politics, comparative political economy, and authoritarian politics. In particular, he has an interest in authoritarian regimes survival and their institutions, how international pressure - such as foreign aid, economic sanctions, human rights prosecutions and military interventions - influences domestic politics in autocratic contexts, democratization, repression, and transitional justice. His research has been published in the Journal of Politics, Comparative Political Studies, International Organization, British Journal of Political Science, Journal of Peace Research, International Studies Quarterly, Democratization, International Political Science Review, European Journal of Political Research, Constitutional Political Economy, Kyklos, among others. Abel is also the co-author of a book, Foreign Pressure and the Politics of Autocratic Survival, published with Oxford University Press.
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