Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: The Politics of Immigration under Authoritarianism
Authors: Joo, Song Ha
Advisors: Beissinger, Mark R
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: authoritarian politics
Subjects: Political science
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Under what circumstances do authoritarian states adopt anti-immigration policies? Despite large-scale immigration to authoritarian countries and the resulting political and social impact of such immigration, little systemic research examines the politics of immigration in authoritarian regimes. In this dissertation, I argue that high electoral competition can lead to immigration restrictions in authoritarian countries, because autocrats use anti-immigration policies to mobilize popular support. Further, I argue that electoral competition exerts a larger impact on immigration policies, whose implementation is visible to citizens in such actions as raids and deportation of immigrants. Areas of immigration policy that are less visible to citizens (for example, the issuance of work permits) are not affected by electoral competition. I examine these arguments by focusing on Russia and Kazakhstan—major immigrant-receiving countries in the post-Soviet region and in the world. This research draws on original qualitative and quantitative evidence that I gathered during 11 months of fieldwork in both countries. Analyzing a temporal change in Russia’s labor immigration policy at the federal level, I show that high electoral competition in the early 2010s explains the adoption of a restrictive immigration policy in the following years. Employing a statistical analysis of a novel dataset on deportation and case studies on Russian regions, I demonstrate that the run-up to elections leads to more restrictive deportation policies, while having little impact on work permit policies. Finally, by comparing the immigration policies of Russia and Kazakhstan, I show that the low level of electoral competition facilitates the depoliticization of the immigration issue and an open immigration policy in Kazakhstan. This dissertation offers a new perspective to the literature on immigration policy, which often considers economic factors as the key to explaining immigration restrictions in authoritarian countries. This project also contributes to the literature on authoritarian regimes by showing how immigration policy processes differ in electoral and non-electoral authoritarian systems. Further, it offers a more nuanced understanding of authoritarian elections by demonstrating that the effect of elections differs depending on policy visibility.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

Files in This Item:
This content is embargoed until 2021-06-10. For more information contact the Mudd Manuscript Library.

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.