Migration, Political Institutions, and Social Networks

NOVAFRICA working paper series
Cátia Batista

Nova School of Business and Economics, CReAM, IZA and NOVAFRICA

Julia Seither

Nova School of Business and Economics, and NOVAFRICA

Pedro Vicente

Nova School of Business and Economics, BREAD, and NOVAFRICA

ISSN 2183-0843
Working Paper No 1701
March 2017


What is the role of migrants and, more specifically, of migrant networks in shaping the quality of political institutions in migrant sending countries? Our theory proposes that migration might change individual social identities, while it may also improve knowledge about better quality political institutions. Hence, international migration might increase the demand for political improvements both by migrants and by other individuals in their networks. To test this hypothesis, this paper uses a measure of actual voter turnout and, most innovatively, a behavioral measure obtained by having survey respondents participate in a simple behavioral experiment, supplemented with detailed household survey data. These data were purposely collected around the time of the 2009 elections in Mozambique. The empirical results show that the number of migrants a voter is in close contact through regular chatting within a village increases the demand for political accountability by residents in that village. Furthermore, we find our results to be robust to the endogeneity of migration flows.

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