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Recent publications on citizenship laws and policies


Making the absent present. Political parties and emigrant issues in country of origin parliaments

By Eva Østergaard-Nielsen and Irina Ciornei, Party Politics, March 2017

A growing number of countries have granted their emigrant citizens the right to vote in homeland elections from afar. Yet, there is little understanding of the extent to which emigration issues are visible in the subsequent legislative processes of policymaking and representation. Based on an original data set of parliamentary activities in Spain, Italy, France and Romania, this article analyses why political parties pay attention to emigrants. To that end, we propose a conceptual framework which draws on both theories of issue salience and substantive representation. Bridging these two frameworks allows us bring in both parties (salience) and constituencies (representation) in the analysis of the linkage between electorates and parliaments at a transnational level. We test a series of hypotheses and find that parties are more likely to focus on emigration issues the stronger their electoral incentives and in the context of electoral systems allowing the emigrants to elect special emigrant representatives.

Read at the journal’s website.


An unexpected reform in the maelstrom of the crisis: Greek nationality in the times of the memoranda (2010–2015)

By Dimitris Christopoulos, Citizenship Studies, March 2017

The article discusses the path of an important reform of the Greek Citizenship Code, starting from the initial introduction of the Citizenship Law in 2010, the public debate and reactions that followed leading to its partial annulation as unconstitutional in 2012, and finally, the developments until its restoration with a new law in 2016. This initiative introducing radical reforms for the Greek context took place in the midst of the public debt crisis, and thus has not been discussed accordingly. Until then, the issue of Greek nationality represented a non-issue in the political agenda of the country, since the issue of citizenship was considered ‘nationally sensitive’. The paper examines how such a reform is pushed forward during extremely difficult conditions, an unprecedented economic and political crisis, coupled by the largest refugee wave in the recent history of the country, having still an uncertain future/outcome.

Read at the journal’s website.


The Determinants of Naturalization in Switzerland between 2010 and 2012


By Alicia Loretan and Philippe Wanner, nccr-on the move Working Paper, 2017

Naturalization is an important phenomenon for countries, not only because of its implications (it grants duties and rights to new citizens) but also because of its policy-sensitive aspect. In Switzerland, it is also a complex phenomenon because of the diversity of procedures at the canton and commune levels. Knowledge of the determinants of naturalization is still lacking. In this context, this study presents two explanatory models of naturalization in Switzerland between 2010 and 2012, using statistical data prepared in the framework of the nccr – On the Move IP 1 Project, and analyzes their impacts on the naturalization (or lack thereof) of individuals, using binary logistic regressions. These models include sociodemographic variables, migration-linked variables and commune-related variables. Age, employment status (particularly unemployment), length of residence, country of origin and proportion of foreigners within the commune are the most explanatory variables of the naturalization of individuals, confirming the results of previous studies in Switzerland and abroad.

Full text here.


Distance as a cost of cross-border voting

By Johanna Peltoniemi, Research on Finnish Society, 2016

Globalisation and European integration have led to increased mobility, and a growing number of countries have enfranchised their emigrant citizens. However, the political participation of Nordic emigrants has hitherto been a scantly investigated issue. This article examines which factors influence the voting likelihood of emigrants; does distance influence as a cost of cross- border voting, and how does time lived abroad influences emigrants’ decision to vote in the parliamentary elections, both in homeland and in the country of residence. The statistical analyses are based on data collected from 1,067 Finnish emigrants in 2014. The results sug- gest that distance to the nearest polling station plays a significant role in the emigrant voting decision. Furthermore, we find that emigrants’ probability to vote in the homeland elections decline with time, whereas the probability to vote in the country of residence increases. This study provides a new understanding of voter behaviour in globalised world, and the findings of this article can be used to develop targeted interventions aimed at ameliorating transnational political participation.

Full text here. 


Catalyst or Crown: Does Naturalization Promote the Long-Term Social Integration of Immigrants?

By Jens Hainmueller, Dominik Hangartner and Giuseppe Pietrantuono, American Political Science Review, 2017

We study the impact of naturalization on the long-term social integration of immigrants into the host country society. Despite ongoing debates about citizenship policy, we lack reliable evidence that isolates the causal effect of naturalization from the nonrandom selection into naturalization. We exploit the quasi-random assignment of citizenship in Swiss municipalities that used referendums to decide on naturalization applications of immigrants. Comparing otherwise similar immigrants who narrowly won or lost their naturalization referendums, we find that receiving Swiss citizenship strongly improved long-term social integration. We also find that the integration returns to naturalization are larger for more marginalized immigrant groups and when naturalization occurs earlier, rather than later in the residency period. Overall, our findings support the policy paradigm arguing that naturalization is a catalyst for improving the social integration of immigrants rather than merely the crown on the completed integration process.

See at the journal’s website.