Discussion paper

DP8202 Do Migrants Improve Governance at Home? Evidence from a Voting Experiment

Can international migration promote better institutions at home by raising the demand for political accountability? In order to examine this question, we designed a behavioral measure of the population?s desire for better governance. A postcard was distributed to households with the pledge that, if enough postcards were mailed back, results from a survey module on perceived corruption would be made public in the national media. Using data from a tailored household survey, we examine the determinants of our behavioral measure of demand for political accountability (i.e. of undertaking the costly action of mailing the postcard), and isolate the positive effect of international emigration using locality level variation. The estimated effects are robust to the use of instrumental variables, including both past migration and macro shocks in the migrant destination countries. We find that the estimated effects can be mainly attributed to those who emigrated to countries with better governance, especially return migrants.


Batista, C and P Vicente (2011), ‘DP8202 Do Migrants Improve Governance at Home? Evidence from a Voting Experiment‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 8202. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp8202