This thesis addresses the issue of political representation of emigrants in their states of origin. Focusing on the Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) region, it analyzes the institutional mechanisms by which homelands allow their emigrants to participate in their institutions and asks why states of origin have adopted such mechanisms. While the core of the thesis is empirical, there is a normative interest that guides the thesis: should emigrants be represented in their states of origin? And if so, how much presence shall be allowed from abroad? The theoretical framework of the thesis builds upon the literature on political representation and the literature on political transnationalism. The dissertation follows a cumulative logic developed over four journal articles that provide the empirical basis needed to answer the main research questions. These four papers combine different sources of information (e.g. legal texts, legislative speeches, and interviews) and a diverse set of methods (e.g. quantitative text analysis, regression analyses, and case studies).
The findings reveal that emigrants are present in their homelands through two main mechanisms of representation. The first is the legislative, which facilitates the participation from abroad in homeland legislative elections by either voting or by running as candidates. Emigrants can run as candidates from districts located within the territorial boundaries of the states of origin (i.e. general representation) or through external districts (i.e. special representation). The second mechanism is the consultative one, which enables the representation of non-resident citizens through emigrant advisory boards. Both have been adopted in the LAC region. Yet, states have developed different ‘systems’ of emigrant representation which range from the total absence of emigrant political representation to an integrated model that combines both mechanisms of representation and maximizes the possibilities of political representation for non-resident citizens.
Moving beyond a static assessment of the mechanisms of representation, the study also analyzes their adoption as a process that extends over time and in which it is possible to differentiate stages. Furthermore, the findings show the importance of studying the specific regulations of the mechanisms of representation. As a result, the thesis challenges the widely held claim that external voting has been diffused all across the region. It argues that the trend towards convergence does not exist when the concrete regulations of external voting (e.g. in which elections emigrants can participate, from where and with which methods of voting) are factored in.
Complementing the broad regional perspective, the thesis presents a more detailed analysis of two countries (Ecuador and Colombia) that have special seats for emigrant parliamentarians. The analyses reveal that emigrant members of the parliament (EMPs) in Ecuador and Colombia do dedicate more time and resources to represent the interests of emigrants in the legislative chambers than non-emigrant members of the parliament (NEMPs). However, the data clearly shows that salience of emigrant-related issues is higher in Ecuador, a country that has proportional emigrant representation, than in Colombia, a country in which non-resident citizens are under-represented. This finding shows that parliamentarian representation can have a ‘containment effect’ rather than being an effective way of representation if the number of seats allocated to emigrants is disproportionally low in comparison to the share of emigrants in the total population. The empirical evidence of the thesis helps to address the normative concerns around the representation of emigrants in their homelands. To overcome the pitfalls of both under- and over-representation of emigrants in their homelands, a combination between both mechanisms of representation emerges as the most appropriate option.
xvi, 150 Seiten
300 Social sciences::320 Political science::320 Political science
Institutional Representation of Emigrants in their States of Origin: How much Presence from Abroad?
Politik- und Sozialwissenschaften