Remittances and Protests in Africa

27 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2013

See all articles by Jesse Acevedo

Jesse Acevedo

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Political Science

Date Written: May 15, 2013


Common explanations for why protests occur in developing countries have mainly focused on domestic economic and political factors. Meanwhile, developing countries have witnessed a rise in remittance inflows during the last twenty years and this may profoundly impact the number of protests. For many countries, remittance flows are important in buffering against any economic downturn. In this light, does the money migrants send home in the form of remittances impact the number of protests in a country? In this paper, I explore the connection between remittances and protests using evidence in the form of cross-sectional time-series data from all African countries between 1990 and 2010. This paper tests two hypotheses on the relationship between remittances and protests. The first hypothesis is one of political disengagement as a result of remittances, where larger inflows result in fewer protests. The second is a political activation hypothesis, which argues that higher remittance flows lead to political activation of the population. In addition to these two hypotheses, I test whether the effect of remittances on protests is mediated by political context. While protest is an extreme form of political participation, detecting any sort of relationship between remittances and protests, controlling for other factors, could shed light into the political consequences of remittances in developing countries.

Keywords: remittances, protests, Africa

JEL Classification: O55, F22

Suggested Citation

Acevedo, Jesse, Remittances and Protests in Africa (May 15, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Jesse Acevedo (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Political Science ( email )

4289 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1472
United States

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