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The effect of labor migration on the diffusion of democracy: evidence from a former Soviet Republic

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Toman Barsbai, Hillel Rapoport, Andreas Steinmayr, Christoph Trebesch

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Migration contributes to the circulation of goods, knowledge, and ideas. Using community and individual-level data from Moldova, we show that the emigration wave that started in the aftermath of the Russian crisis of1998 strongly affected electoral outcomes and political preferences in Moldova during the following decade, eventually contributing to the fall of the last Communist government in Europe. Our results are suggestive of information transmission and cultural diffusion channels. Identification relies on the quasi-experimental context and on the differential effects arising from the fact that emigration was directed both to more democratic Western Europe and to less democratic Russia.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-69
JournalAmerican Economic Journal: Applied Economics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017

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