Research event

Diaspora and revolution

Max Schaub, senior research fellow at the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB), presents his joint work with Rustamdjan Hakimov of the University of Lausanne on diaspora and revolution. This event is part of the International Security Research Colloquium hosted by the Centre for International Security.

How do diasporas influence their home countries? Cross-national research has shown that diasporas can both undermine and reinforce democratic institutions in their countries of origin. However, the way this happens remains unclear. Schaub and Hakimov argue that migrants can affect political change by encouraging participation in revolutionary protests. Their data comes from an original survey implemented shortly after the `velvet revolution’ 2018 in Armenia — a country with an extensive diaspora abroad. They isolate the causal effect of the diaspora on participation in the revolution by focusing on quasi-random patterns of flight during the Armenian genocide. Their estimates show that individuals with diaspora contacts were more likely to take part in the revolution. This effect is driven by diaspora contacts in democratic countries, while contacts in autocracies have no or the opposite effect. Their study provides insights into the micro-dynamics of diaspora influence on broad-based institutional change.


About the speaker

Max Schaub is a senior research fellow in the migration, integration and transnationalization research unit at the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB). His research focuses on the themes of poverty, violence, and migration, and their social, political, and psychological causes and consequences. He received his Ph.D. from the European University Institute (EUI) in 2016.