ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Migration, Reciprocity and the Social Contract

Africa
Migration
State Power
Ana Isabel López García
Universität Konstanz
Barry Maydom
Birkbeck, University of London

Abstract

In this paper, we examine how migration and remittances reshape the meaning and the terms of the ‘social contract’ in migrants’ homelands. Those planning to emigrate care less about the economic and political direction of the country which they hope to soon leave. Those dependent on remittances are less affected by, and care less about, political decisions and national economic trends. Governments in migrant-sending countries respond to this change in preferences through a substitution effect, by which they divert resources from general welfare spending towards particularistic benefits for regime-supporting communities. This substitution further undermines the social contract and fuels disconnection between governments and potential migrants/remittances recipients. When remittance recipients do interact with the government, it is primarily in a short-term transactional manner to obtain specific goods and services rather than part of a longer-term social contract. We test our argument using survey data from the Middle East, Africa and Latin America and show that emigration and remittances can indeed undermine the social contract and promote a transactional relationship between regimes and citizens. Our findings contribute to research on the developmental impacts of emigration and the dynamics of the social contract in developing democracies.