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This paper seeks to investigate the determinants of transnational political engagement among contemporary Latin American migrants in Spain and Italy. We test a series of hypotheses drawing on conventional assimilation theory and recent transnational migration and social network studies. Zeroinflated negative binomial regression models are used to analyse survey data on Colombian and Dominican migrants in Spain and Italy collected as part of the New Landscapes of Migration: A Comparative Study of Mobility and Transnational Practices between Latin America and Europe (NELMI) research project, conducted in four European countries – Spain, Italy, Denmark, and England. Results indicate that political transnational engagement is a gendered processes dominated by highly educated men. Dominican migrants are generally more likely than Colombians to engage in transnational politics. Overall results challenge the assimilationist assumptions that incorporation and transnational engagement are opposite processes. In fact, Colombians and Dominicans living in Spain, a country with which they share the same language, religious affiliation, and a history of colonialism, are more likely to engage in transnational political action than their counterparts in Italy. We conclude by comparing the findings from the European data with previously published results examining the same groups’ transnational political engagement in the United States.



Working paper


International Migration Institute

Publication Date




Total pages



transnational political engagement, assimilation, determinants, Colombians, Dominicans,, Spain, Italy