In the last two decades, the number of diaspora engagement institutions have increased more than ten times. In this paper, the authors try to explain this rise in institutions established by states to engage national that have emigrated to other countries. To date these institutions have largely been overlooked in mainstream political studies, despite being found in over half of all United Nations member states.
The authors identify and investigate three theoretical perspectives to explain the emergence of diaspora institutions and their importance. Using regression and related analyses modelling of diaspora institution emergence and importance in 144 states observed from 1990-2010, they analyse these three perspectives. The research is part of the ‘Diaspora engagement policies’ project led by author Alan Gamlen, as part of the Oxford Diasporas Programme.