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Migrant Transnational Participation: How Citizen Inclusion and Government Engagement Matter for Local Democratic Development in Mexico


Contemporary debates on the relationship between migration and development focus extensively on how migrant remittances affect the economies of sending countries. Yet remittances also produce dynamic political consequences in migrants’ origin communities, but receive less attention in scholarly accounts. Emigration and income earned abroad create political opportunities for migrant groups to participate in the provision of public services with the sending state in their hometowns. This article examines the conditions under which the transnational coproduction of public goods between organized migrants and public agencies at origin shapes democratic governance by focusing on the organizational variation in partnerships across time and space. First, the paper argues that local citizen inclusion and government engagement interact to determine four different types of coproduction: corporatist, fragmented, substitutive and synergetic. Second, using four comparative case studies based on fieldwork in three Mexican states, the paper traces central mechanisms to organizational form of coproduction and describes how emergent variation affects democratic governance and state-society relations. The article shows the ways in which transnational forces, when collaborating with local social and political institutions, can profoundly impact democratic development.

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