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    Remittances, criminal violence and voter turnout

    López García, A.I. and Maydom, Barry (2021) Remittances, criminal violence and voter turnout. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 47 (6), pp. 1349-1374. ISSN 1369-183X.

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    How do financial remittances influence electoral participation in violent democracies? Previous work has focused on the ‘substitution effect’; if recipients depend on remittances for welfare rather than the state, they become disengaged from formal political processes and less likely to vote in elections. However, while remittances can be used to substitute for state provision of welfare goods, they cannot fully substitute for public security. In this paper, we posit that the ability of governments to contain crime and violence conditions the effect of remittances on electoral participation. Specifically, we argue that high levels of crime can negate the substitution effect and make remittance recipients more likely to vote. Using municipality-level data from Mexico and individual-level data from Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, we find that both the receipt of remittances and crime exposure significantly reduce individuals’ propensity to vote and that aggregate remittances and crime rates are correlated with lower turnout. Remittances can, however, negate the turnout-suppressing effects of crime, and crime can negate the turnout-suppressing effects of remittances. Our results suggest a need to account for government provision of both substitutable and non-substitutable goods when investigating the effects of remittances on political participation.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Political participation, turnout, remittances, crime, violence
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Barry Maydom
    Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2019 14:31
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:52


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