New Publication in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies

Our paper “Family Remittances and Vigilantism in Mexico” (co-authored with Sandra Ley (CIDE) and Eduardo Ibarra-Olivo (LSE)) was recently published in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. We explore the role of workers’ remittances in supporting vigilante organisations in Mexico. Research on remittances posits both a positive and a negative effect on collective action from the reception of remittances. On one hand, remittances sent by relatives abroad provide extra resources for political action at home. On the other hand, the reception of remittances makes recipients less prone to protesting, through a reduction in grievances. As a result, remittances can be associated with both an increase and a decrease of collective political activity. We claim that both effects can co-exist and that the predominance of one mechanism or the other depends on the degree of penetration of remittances at the municipal level. Using data on the existence of vigilante organisations, we find that in most remittance-receiving municipalities, through a resource effect, remittance inflows increase the probability of observing self-defense organisations, but this probability declines at high rates of remittance penetration at the local level. The paper contributes both to our understanding of international social networks as determinants of civilian action and to the research agenda on how workers’ remittances shape political behaviour in home countries. The article is part of Special Issue edited by Professors Clarisa Pérez Armendáriz and Ana Isabel Alonso.

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