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EMINCOR Report Summary

Project ID: 660571
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.2.


Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Internationally mobile citizens pose a challenge to policy-makers concerned with their political rights and participation. There has been a remarkable rise in countries extending voting rights to their non-resident citizens (emigrants) over the last two decades with 115 countries granting such rights by 2007. This raises important questions regarding the reasons for this increase in policies of enfranchisement of emigrants and their influence on processes of political incorporation of emigrants. This project will examine these issues along two main research objectives: First, it investigates the policies of emigrant participation by questioning why states extend voting rights to emigrants. This will be done through a mixed methods approach including a large N study analysing why parties support external voting rights. In continuation the project undertakes an in-depth analysis of a focused comparison among three of the cases: France, Italy and Spain. Second, the research focuses on practices and processes of emigrant political incorporation. This will be analysed through a comparative study of emigrant candidates, which are running for office in parliamentary elections in Italy and France. The project will compare the profile, motivation and strategies of the candidates in their negotiation with the political parties for whom they candidate and the main hypotheses will be related to both the systemic differences between the electoral institutions across the two cases, the particular partisan interests and the (changing) profile of the emigrant collectives and their candidates based in the US. The research, carried out at Harvard University and the Autonomous University and Barcelona, will contribute to current European policy debates on the quality and effectiveness of transnational electoral participation of mobile citizens.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The first year of this Fellowship has been carried out from the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University under the supervision of Professor Jennifer Hochschild, Department of Government. During this period I have undertaken the following research activities:

Objective 1/work-package 1: Research, analysis and drafting of paper on why parties support external voting rights:
In order to analyse why states grant external citizenship I have first undertaken an extensive analysis of existing literature. After reviewing recently published papers, I decided to focus the research on the position of political parties on external voting rights. I have set up a database with the position and framing of political parties in 22 debates across 13 western European countries and conducted a both qualitative and quantitative analysis of why parties support emigrant voting rights. This paper is co-authored with Dr. Irina Ciornei, Bern University and Dr. Jean-Michel Lafleur, Liege University. The paper has been presented in an international workshop and revised and is expected ready for submission to an open access international journal by early November 2016.

Objective 2/Work-package 2: Research and preliminary analysis of emigrant political candidates in the case of France and Italy: I have conducted a review of the existing literature and developed a conceptual framework for the legislative recruitment of emigrant candidates. Subsequently I have collected background information on about half of the 160 candidates in the Italian 2013 legislative election and interviewed 8 candidates, 5 from the North American district. The preliminary analysis has been written up and presented a seminar and two international conferences.

Training and seminar activities: During my year at the WCFIA I have regularly attended seminars and workshops relevant to my research objectives including, the Comparative Politics Workshop, the Comparative Politics Speakers series (Department of Government, the Seminar on Exclusion and Inclusion in Europe (the Minda Gunzburg Center for European Studies), the Harvard Migration and Immigrant Incorporation Workshop (Department of Sociology), and the Transnational Studies Initiative workshops and working group (WCFIA)

Dissemination of results in seminars and international conferences: During the first 12 months of this Fellowship I have presented my research in the following international conferences and seminars including the 2015 EUDO Dissemination Conference Spreading Citizenship: Regional Dynamics of Norm Diffusion in Europe and the Americas, European University Institute, Robert Schuman Institute, Firenze, the Conference of Europeanist Annual Conference, 2016, The Transnational Studies Initiative Seminar, Harvard University, the American Political Science Association (APSA) Annual Conference 2016, the ECPR Annual Conference, 2016. Moreover, I have organized panel on International migration and the political elite, at the ECPR I co-organized and co-chaired Dr. Thibaut Jaulin related to the second paper on legislative recruitment of emigrant candidates with colleagues from Germany and France.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The findings related to the first papers on why parties support external voting rights are contributing to the research field beyond the state of the art, as this will be the first quantitative analysis of how the support and framing of parties in relation to emigrant voting rights relate to a series of variables including ideology, position on immigration, and the presence of far right parties. The results of the paper illustrate how parties frame their support in relation to their overall position on both issues of emigration and immigration and also that far right parties are not, as assumed in the scarce literature on this subject, more likely to support emigrant political rights. In this way, the analysis opens up the ‘black box’ analysis of why states support emigrant voting rights and cast new light on how parties are positioned regarding the transnationalization of the electorate and the incorporation of emigrants.

The second paper is still in progress. At this point the construction of a theoretical framework and the preliminary analysis of the Italian case show that emigrant candidates are characterized by a long-standing emigration trajectory and a large presence of second generation migrants. Moreover, by extending the background research to all emigrant candidates it appears that there are interesting differences across the emigrant electoral districts with in particular the European based candidates being much ‘closer’ to Italian politics than those in the districts of South and North America. Finally, the recruitment strategies of the political parties are strongly influential. Theoretically the analysis is suggesting that the focus on legislative recruitment is an important optic in the understanding of the power relations between homelands and emigrants and by extension for the understanding of processes of emigrant political incorporation.

During the next months I will strengthen the dissemination beyond the academic audience by setting up a website where the papers can be uploaded. I will draft short non-technical summaries of the findings and disseminate. Finally I have already spoken to several European schools in Barcelona regarding a lecture on transnational voting for young dual citizens.

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