Remittances and Democratization

Abel Escribà-Folch, Covadonga Meseguer, Joseph Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Do remittances stabilize autocracies? Remittances-money sent by foreign workers to individuals in their home country-differ from other sources of external non-tax revenue, such as foreign aid, because they accrue directly to individuals and thus raise the incomes of households. We argue that remittances increase the likelihood of democratic transition by undermining electoral support for autocratic incumbents in party-based regimes. Remittances therefore make voters less dependent on state transfers. As a result, autocracies that rely heavily on the broad-based distribution of spoils for their survival, namely party-based regimes, should prove especially vulnerable to increases in remittances. Evidence consistent with this argument suggests that remittances promote democratization in some dictatorships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-586
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Studies Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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