Recent publications on citizenship laws and policies
Reflections on the value of citizenship: explaining naturalisation practices
By David Reichel and Bernhard Perchinig in the Austrian Journal of Political Science (March 2015)
The article raises the question of why immigrants become or do not become citizens of their destination country. Political incorporation of immigrants through naturalisation is driven by several factors, including opportunities to naturalise on the one hand and the (perceived) added value of naturalisation on the other hand. We argue that naturalisation propensities are strongly driven by policies, while settlement in a country raises the value of citizenship and leads to the acceptance of higher costs. Based on data from the Austrian Mikrozensus we examine the factors that drive citizenship status of immigrants from the main countries and regions of origin in Austria. We find that indicators related to the settlement of immigrants as well as indicators for having easier access to citizenship, most notably higher socio-economic resources, reduce the likelihood of being a foreign citizen. View full text
Naturalization and citizenship: Who benefits?
By Christina Gathmann, IZA World of Labor 2015: 125
Politicians, the media, and the public express concern that many immigrants fail to integrate economically. Research shows that the option to naturalize has considerable economic benefits for eligible immigrants, even in countries with a tradition of restrictive policies. First-generation immigrants who are naturalized have higher earnings and more stable jobs. The gains from citizenship are particularly apparent among immigrants from poorer countries. A key policy question is whether naturalization causes labor market success or is taken up by those immigrants who would anyway be most likely to succeed in the labor market. View full text
Migrants into Members: Social Rights, Civic Requirements, and Citizenship in Western Europe
by Gregory Baldi & Sara Wallace Goodman, Western European Politics (22 May 2015)
How do the states in Western Europe turn outsiders into insiders? This article examines that question by introducing a new qualitative framework that we term national membership conditionality structures (MCS). This framework includes not only status acquisition rules, such as those governing naturalisation and settlement, but also, crucially, civic integration requirements and social benefit eligibility standards. The article illustrates how linkages across these policy sectors shape different membership-making processes for third-country nationals by examining the MCS variation in Great Britain and Germany, two countries that both experienced significant migration inflows beginning in the first post-war decades. As a contrast to these two ‘mature’ MCS cases, a study of Spain is also included as a ‘nascent’ case, whose recent experience with large-scale immigration provides an opportunity to consider an MCS under active construction. The article concludes that while EU-level policies and institutions have extended their reach to cover ever more sectors, the components of national MCS remain largely outside supranational purview. As such, membership remains a core imperative of the contemporary nation-state.
Citizenship, integration and the quest for social cohesion: nationality reform in the Scandinavian countries
After having coordinated their nationality laws since the late 19th century, the Scandinavian countries have moved in distinctly different directions in this field since the turn of the millennium. Today Sweden has one of the most liberal citizenship policies in Europe, while Denmark has one of the most restrictive. Norway occupies an intermediate position between its Scandinavian neighbours. In this article, I compare the differences in Scandinavian nationality law and the political processes that led to these changes. The highly divergent development of nationality law in the Scandinavian region questions the widespread idea that a general convergence towards liberalization of European nationality law is taking place. Although static concepts of nationhood cannot account for the recent changes in Scandinavian nationality law, ideas about national identity and social cohesion are still highly influential in determining the content of nationality law.
Ancestry into Opportunity: How Global Inequality Drives Demand for Long-distance European Union Citizenship
By Yossi Harpaz, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 15 May 2015
This paper investigates the relationship between global inequality and dual citizenship by analysing citizenship acquisition from abroad in the European Union (EU). Most EU countries now offer facilitated naturalisation to descendants of emigrants and co-ethnics abroad, which requires neither residence nor renunciation of former citizenship. Since the 1990s, over 3.5 million people have used this opening to obtain dual citizenship from a European country to which they often have little if any connection. I analyse this phenomenon using a data-set that I constructed from previously unanalysed administrative statistics. The data were used to test an original theory that explains patterns of demand for dual citizenship in the context of a global hierarchy of citizenship worth. The analysis demonstrated that demand was much higher in Latin America and Eastern Europe than in North America and Western Europe. Non-Western applicants were drawn to the practical benefits of EU citizenship, and their level of demand varied in response to economic conditions like unemployment. In contrast, Western applicants displayed lower demand for citizenship and were unresponsive to economic incentives. The paper contributes to the literature by demonstrating the relationship between citizenship and global stratification as well as highlighting a widespread instrumental approach to dual citizenship.