Award Date

August 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Committee Member

Michele Kuenzi

Second Committee Member

John Tuman

Third Committee Member

John Curry

Fourth Committee Member

Steven Landis

Fifth Committee Member

Austin Wang

Number of Pages



Over the last 30 years, a growing body of research in political science has studied migration and transnationalism as complex political phenomena that have far-reaching consequences on the politics and societies of both sending and receiving countries. How migrants themselves experience migration and how those experiences are transferred to family and friends they leave in their country of origin has political consequences. Some scholars have argued that migration can induce or contribute to the democratization of sending countries through both financial and social processes, which can occur at the state and individual levels. Focusing on the effects of migration on individuals, I ask two questions. First, do migrants transfer norms to people in their country of origin, and do those norms differ based on whether their country of residence is or is not a democracy? To answer this question, I conduct a unique survey of Arab migrants around the world to examine their interactions with their families and their political and social beliefs as they relate to their country of origin. I find that there is a systematic difference in the attitudes and behaviors of migrants living in democracies—they are more likely to discuss politics with people in their country of origin and more supportive of democracy and liberal values than those living in autocratic countries. Building on this finding, I ask whether the attitudes and behaviors of receivers—i.e., the family and friends in the country of origin—also differ based on the migrant’s location. Using survey data from Arab Barometer Wave V and migrant stock from the United Nations Population Division to approximate migrant location, I find no evidence of a conditioning effect of the migrant’s country of residence. Instead, I find that people receiving remittances in the country of origin are less supportive of democracy regardless of whether their migrants live in an autocratic country or democratic country, and it also has no effect on their espousal of liberal values. However, those with migrant family/friends are more participatory both in civic organizations and contentious political action, but this effect differs based on the frequency with which the individual receives remittances. Further analysis reveals important profile differences among remittance receivers based on receipt frequency. Overall, I find evidence of democratic political learning among migrants but no strong evidence of a diffusion effect of that learning from migrants to friends and family at home.


International and Area Studies | International Relations | Islamic World and Near East History | Near and Middle Eastern Studies | Political Science

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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