David Crow and Clarisa Perez-Armendariz and David Crow: “Talk Without Borders: Why Political Discussion Makes Latin Americans With Relatives Abroad More Critical of Their Democracies” (Comparative Political Studies: https://doi.org/10.1177/0010414017710253)
Abstract: Mulling over politics with others can change citizens’ political beliefs and choices. Is the effect of interpersonal political discussion different when one of the interlocutors has a family member living abroad—that is, is a “transnational household member” (THM)? Using data from 20 Latin American countries in the 2006-2008 AmericasBarometer, we show that talking about politics makes THMs less satisfied with their democracies and less proud of their political systems than non-THMs. When THMs engage in cross-border political discussions with relatives abroad, they gain new information and perspectives that cast their own democracy in a different light. Even absent cross-border communication, though, political discussion with peers at home can make THMs more critical by emphasizing their government’s transnational governance obligations—and highlighting failures to live up to these heightened expectations. Our study thus adds to a growing body of research on emigration’s impact on sending country politics.