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When the Money Stops: Fluctuations in Financial Remittances and Incumbent Approval in Central Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia


Fluctuations in the volume and the value of financial remittances received from abroad affect the livelihood of households in developing economies across the world. Yet, political scientists have little to say about how changes in remittances, as opposed to the receipt of remittance payments alone, affect recipients’ political attitudes. Relying on a unique four-wave panel study of Kyrgyz citizens between 2010–2013 and a cross-sectional sample of 28 countries in Central Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, we show that when people experience a decrease (increase) in remittances, they become less (more) satisfied about their household economic situation and misattribute responsibility to the incumbent at home. Our findings advance the literature on the political consequences of remittance payments and suggest that far from exclusively being an international risk-sharing mechanism for developing countries, remittances can also drive fluctuations in incumbent approval and compromise rudimentary accountability mechanisms in the developing world.

Corresponding author
Katerina Tertytchnaya is a Junior Research Fellow, St Anne's college and Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, Manor Road, Oxford OX1 3UQ, United Kingdom (
Catherine E. De Vries is a Professor, Department of Political Science & Public Administration, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1055, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands (
Hector Solaz is a Lecturer, John Stuart Mill College, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1055, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands (
David Doyle is an Associate Professor, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, Manor Road, Oxford OX1 3UQ, United Kingdom (
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Previous versions of this article were presented at research seminars at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Toulouse, the London School of Economics, Pompeu Fabra University and the University of California, Los Angeles as well as the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association. The authors would like to thank Jesse Acevedo, Faisal Ahmed, Ben Ansell, Laia Balcells, Michael Becher, Tilman Brück, Elias Dinas, Abel Escribà-Folch, Damir Esenaliev, Aina Gallego, Miriam Golden, Carlo Horz, Spyros Kosmidis, David Leblang, Lucas Leemann, Barry Maydom, Covadonga Meseguer, Lucas Novaes, Karine Van Der Straeten, Mariken van der Velden, Cesar Zucco as well as four anonymous reviewers and the editor at the American Political Science Review for their constructive comments. Replication files are available at the American Political Science Review Dataverse:

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