Our new GLOBALCIT website is under construction. In the meantime, please use the current website as before.


Yossi Harpaz (Tel-Aviv University), who will join GLOBALCIT as the Israel country expert, has won IMISCOE's Maria Ioannis Baganha Dissertation Award for 2017. Dr Harpaz defended his dissertation in September 2016 at Princeton University.

Compensatory Citizenship:  A Comparative Study of Dual Nationality in Serbia, Mexico and Israel explores the dramatic changes that the institution of citizenship is undergoing. 

For most of the 20th century, most countries demanded exclusive allegiance from their citizens. Since the 1990s, however, dozens of countries have changed their laws to permit dual citizenship. Tens of millions of persons around the world now hold citizenship in two (or more) countries, and their numbers grow every year. The rise of dual citizenship has received ample attention in the social science literature; most of it, however, was focused on immigrants in Western Europe and North America. In this project, in contrast, I examine dual citizenship outside the West. Once we shift the empirical focus, a crucial but mostly-overlooked aspect comes into sharp relief: the stark disparities in the value of the “citizenship packages” that different countries provide. Global inequality in citizenship value is the main force that drives demand for dual citizenship and shapes its uses outside the West. 

The diffusion of dual citizenship has created new opportunities for elites outside the West to acquire a second citizenship a Western or European Union (EU) country. Millions – mostly in Latin America and Eastern Europe – draw on ancestral or ethnic ties to Western/EU countries or create such ties strategically in order to obtain a second nationality that will provide them with additional opportunities, an insurance policy, a high-mobility passport and even social status. I refer to the second, Western/EU nationality as “compensatory citizenship” because it is acquired in order to make up for the limitations of the primary, non-Western citizenship. In the dissertation, I explore this emergent global phenomenon, which puts into question established assumptions on national identity, inequality and mobility. First, I develop a model of the global stratification of citizenship value, explain how it shapes patterns of dual citizenship uptake, and use original statistics to verify this hypothesis. I find that over 6 million people in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Israel hold compensatory dual citizenship. 

The dissertation then offers a comparative in-depth analysis of the dynamics of compensatory citizenship on the ground. I use qualitative and quantitative material from three cases that represent different pathways to dual citizenship: Hungarian-speaking Serbians who acquire a second citizenship from Hungary (and, through it, the EU); upper-class Mexicans who engage in “birth tourism” to secure American citizenship for their children without intending to settle in the U.S.; and Israelis who reacquire citizenship from the European countries that their parents and grandparents had left as refugees more than six decades ago. 

The dissertation explores the particularities of each case, including the motivations that drive citizenship applicants (freedom of movement and social status play a surprisingly large role) and the dynamics of acquisition (which often involve the emerge of a “citizenship industry”). At the same time, the study highlights the key commonalities: a strategic approach to citizenship that consists in drawing on preexisting advantages (European ancestry, economic capital, region and ethnicity) to secure new advantages with a global scope. These findings suggest the global diffusion of a property-like, utility-maximizing attitude towards state membership, which loses its traditional sacred status and is increasingly converted into a practical resource. 

GLOBALCIT congratulates Dr Harpaz for winning the Maria Ioannis Baganha Dissertation Award for 2017.