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About this event

In this seminar, Alan Gamlen will present his paper entitled 'States and diasporas: the drivers of engagement', co-authored by Michael Cummings, Paul Vaaler and Laura Rossouw. He will also discuss his current research and findings that is part of the Oxford Diasporas Programme 'Diaspora engagement policies' project.

Why have so many states established similar-looking diaspora institutions since the 1990s? Formal state institutions dedicated to emigrants and their descendants have been virtually ignored by mainstream political studies, partly because they fall in the geographical grey area between domestic politics and international relations around which political analyses are usually organized. However, diaspora institutions are now found in approximately half of all United Nations member states. This study offers three theoretically-grounded explanations of why this has come about: one in which instrumentally rational states are tapping the resources of emigrants and their descendants, another in which value-rational states are embracing lost members of the nation-state, and a third in which states are engaging diasporas in response to international advice and expectations regarding migration management. We assess all three approaches empirically, analyzing a new longitudinal dataset for 116 countries in the period 1990-2005, testing hypotheses derived from this theoretical framework and comparing measures of overall model fit. Our results also suggest flaws in prevailing accounts of states tapping and embracing their diasporas, and highlight the important role of diaspora engagement policies in the global governance of migration.