Emigration Opportunities and Effective Governance

November 16, 2021 - 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM

Alexander Kustov
Assistant Professor of Political Science
UNC Charlotte

What are the effects of restricting international migration on effective governance at home? I argue that governments are expected to be much more responsive and provide better services to potentially mobile voters regardless of whether they actually migrate. To test my theory, I compare government performance across national and subnational jurisdictions depending on their migration policy environments in an original dataset of 24 European countries for 1980-2014. I find that exogenous increases in emigration opportunities are associated with higher levels of public service quality in subsequent years. These results suggest that increasing legal opportunities for human mobility can have positive externalities even when only few people end up using these opportunities and moving to other countries.

Alexander Kustov is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Political Administration at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His research focuses on public and policy responses to immigration and ethnic conflict in high-income countries. His book project "Borders of Compassion" examines under what conditions most people accept more open immigration policies. Prior to his appointment at UNC Charlotte, Alexander was a postdoctoral associate at Yale University and received his Ph.D. in Politics and Social Policy from Princeton University.