Remittances and protest in dictatorships

Type Report
Title Remittances and protest in dictatorships
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2017
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 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 that remittances increase protest. To explore the mechanism 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 progovernment regions.

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