Voting from Abroad: Assessing the Impact of Local Turnout on Migrants' Voting behavior

Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 2021-087/V

33 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2021

See all articles by Rubén Poblete-Cazenave

Rubén Poblete-Cazenave

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE); Tinbergen Institute

Alessandro Toppeta

University College London - Department of Economics

Date Written: September 23, 2021

Abstract

Over 150 countries allow expatriate citizens to vote in their country of origin. Yet, little is known about their voting behavior and how this is affected by host countries. Using unique micro-data on Chilean expatriates living in Europe, we study how the host country's turnout affects expatriates' electoral participation in the 2017 Chilean Presidential election. We focus on the 2014 European Parliament election turnout in the district of the Chilean's geocoded residence and exploit local transitory shocks to the cost of voting given by the rainfall on the day of the election. We find that migrants living in areas with higher political participation have lower engagement with their home country politics. A 1 percentage point increase in the host country's turnout decreases the electoral participation of Chilean expatriates by nearly 1 percentage point. The effects are stronger for young Chileans and those living in small communities, and in localities more welcoming to migrants. This suggests that integration into their local environment seems to play an important role on shaping political preferences.

Keywords: Migration, Elections, Voting, Turnout, Expatriates, Rainfall

JEL Classification: P48, D72, F22, J15

Suggested Citation

Poblete-Cazenave, Rubén and Toppeta, Alessandro, Voting from Abroad: Assessing the Impact of Local Turnout on Migrants' Voting behavior (September 23, 2021). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 2021-087/V, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3933789 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3933789

Rubén Poblete-Cazenave (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam, NL 3062 PA
Netherlands

Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA
Netherlands

Alessandro Toppeta

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Drayton House, 30 Gordon Street
30 Gordon Street
London, WC1H 0AX
United Kingdom

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