Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Remittances and political liberalization
by Su, Yu-Sung, Ph.D., City University of New York, 2009, 180; 3378986
Abstract (Summary)

At present, this connection between remittances and political liberalization is based on sporadic observations and anecdotal evidence. I examine this relationship by carrying out a methodologically sophisticated analysis that combines game theoretic reasoning, a matching methods causal model, a Bayseian multilevel statistical analysis, and indepth case studies of Mexico and Taiwan.

In the Mexican chapter, I model a game in which remittances function as a signaling device, indicating to patronage-dispensing politicians exactly which households possess an exit option and thereby constitute a set of "swing voters." The policy analysis of a spending program called procampo that uses matching and multilevel modeling analysis confirms the hypothesis that these households are more likely to be targeted to receive distributive benefits. Remittances have played a major role in undermining the patron-client relationship typical of the pri, Mexico's long-dominant political party, and thereby contributed to its recent decline.

The study of Taiwan focuses on an entirely different remittance scenario. The puzzle is to explain Taiwan's decision to abandon its "no haste, be patient" policy aimed at slowing economic integration with mainland China. I explain this policy reversal by modeling a game of pigs in a box between expatriate business people and the Taiwanese government. I conclude that, in the pre-2000 institutional setting, policy change was unlikely. However, post-2000 political developments, in particular the emergence of a split within the kmt and the electoral victory of an opposition (dpp) candidate for president, created an opening for business people to exploit their control over significant remittance flows and thereby force a change in policy. A study of voting behavior confirms with the institutional analysis that voters receiving remittances were more likely to vote for the dpp opposition. Hence, the increased ease of movement of money and people across the Strait that separates China and Taiwan will further opportunities to increase contestation in Taiwanese politics.

The final chapter conducts a large-N analysis of 164 countries between 1991 and 2000. I use an instrumental variables method to deal with the potential reverse causality. The result confirms that remittances are positively associated with the occurrence of political liberalization.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: John, Bowman R.
Commitee: Tien, Charlies, Woodward, Susan L.
School: City University of New York
Department: Political Science
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 70/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Statistics, Political science
Keywords: Bayesian methods, Causal inference, China, Mexico, Political liberalization, Remittances, Taiwan
Publication Number: 3378986
ISBN: 9781109448146
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