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Lecture | Leiden Interdisciplinary Migration Seminar (LIMS)

Inclusive Electoral Institutions and Political Efficacy of Ethnic Voters in Diverse Democracies

Wednesday 28 April 2021
Leiden Interdisciplinary Migration Seminars 2020-2021
Via: https://smart.newrow.com/room/?qjg-259&fr=lti

LIMS talk by Dr. Elif Naz Kayran Meier (Institute for Public Administration, Leiden), entitled 'Inclusive Electoral Institutions and Political Efficacy of Ethnic Voters in Diverse Democracies'.


The Leiden Interdisciplinary Migration Seminars (LIMS) aim at fostering further discussion across disciplines on migration-related topics and creating an open dialogue between the speakers and the attendees. The seminars are a platform for those at Leiden University working on migration-related topics.

What makes immigrants feel politically influential in host countries?
While previous studies have concentrated on political preferences and behaviour, we know little about the external efficacy attitudes of immigrants and whether targeted policies can have an impact on altering these perceptions. Notably, much of the earlier evidence of external efficacy in diverse societies comes from cross-sectional studies of natives, whereas the dynamics of changes in efficacy over time and research designs that concentrate on all-resident populations beyond native citizens remain understudied.

The former is a particularly critical shortcoming because new evidence contests the view that external efficacy is merely a stable personality trait. This presentation argues that local context in terms of electoral inclusiveness influences external efficacy among immigrants.  More precisely, we put forward that alien enfranchisement, as a highly effective marker of immigrant inclusivity and right to politics, enhances immigrants' sense of influence in politics. However, considering the potential push-back and spill-over effects of alien enfranchisement on native citizens, the presentation also assesses whether such expansion is associated with a subsequent decline in the external efficacy of citizens -- both native and naturalized. Empirically, the research focuses on the Swiss case and exploits the sub-national variation in local electoral institutions using longitudinal data from the Swiss Household Panel from 1999 to 2014

The paper adds to earlier work by proposing that immigrants' political incorporation is not merely a function of individual characteristics but relates to the contexts in which immigrants are received in the host democracies. Inclusive voting rights seem to have the ability to raise external efficacy perceptions among immigrant residents without evidence of a backlash among citizens making it a useful policy tool for immigrant integration.


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