Outmigration and Pro-Americanism

We explore how the reception of remittances affects perceptions of the bilateral relationship between Mexico and the U.S. Scholars have claimed that the economic benefits of the relationship with the U.S. prevail over imperialistic concerns stemming from the asymmetry of power between the two countries. Empirical research shows that Latin American public opinion is indeed more supportive of the U.S. than the theory predicts. We do identify, however, two gaps in this literature: first, scholars have explored the determinants of generic expressions of sentiment toward the U.S., overlooking more concrete instances of cooperation between the two countries. Second, scholars have focused on trade and investment and have ignored how the material gains derived from emigration shape attitudes toward the U.S. Using novel survey data on the bilateral relationship between Mexico and the U.S., our paper fills these two gaps. We find that while the reception of remittances correlates positively with good sentiments toward the U.S., those who receive remittances are consistently more opposed to cooperation with the U.S. in the fight against drug trafficking. We argue that these findings can be explained by the different nature of the migratory phenomenon, and the connection between anti-drug trafficking policies and the close scrutiny of illegal flows of money and people.

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