January 2010

IZA DP No. 4688: Do Migrants Improve Governance at Home? Evidence from a Voting Experiment

published in: World Bank Economic Review, 2011, 25 (1), 77-104

This paper tests the hypothesis that international migration experiences may promote better institutions at home by raising the demand for political accountability. In order to examine this question, we use a simple postcard voting experiment designed to capture the population’s desire for better governance. Using data from a tailored household survey, we examine the determinants of voting behavior in our experiment, and isolate the positive effect of international emigration on the demand for political accountability. We find that this effect can be mainly attributed to the presence of return migrants, particularly to those who emigrated to countries with better governance.