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Marketizing Sovereign Prerogatives: How to Sell Citizenship

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 November 2021

Kristin Surak*
Affiliation:
Department of Sociology, LondonSchool of Economics and Political Science [K.Surak@lse.ac.uk].
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Abstract

How is a sovereign prerogative brought to market? We know much about how states shape markets and vice versa, but less about the dynamics when states not only set market rules, but are also the sole producer of the good. This article takes up the case of citizenship by investment—“golden passport” programs that offer citizenship in recognition of an investment in a country—to unpack the challenges that appear when states commodify sovereign prerogatives. In these cases, the state holds multiple roles that generate conflicts of interest and a concern for credibility. To address these concerns, states may adopt two strategies: institute a division of labor in issuing the product, and outsource elements of supervision to third-party actors. Empirically, the analysis shows how migration service providers retooled murky discretionary grants of citizenship in peripheral countries into formal citizenship by investment schemes. The conclusion addresses how these strategies apply in markets for other sovereign prerogatives, particularly government debt, and discusses the implications for citizenship and neoliberalism.

Résumé

Résumé

Comment une prérogative souveraine est-elle mise sur le marché? Nous en savons beaucoup sur la manière dont les États façonnent les marchés et vice-versa, mais moins sur les dynamiques quand les États non seulement fixent les règles du marché, mais sont également le seul producteur du bien marchand. Cet article aborde le cas de la nationalité par l’investissement – des programmes de « golden passports » qui offrent la nationalité en échange d’un investissement dans un pays – pour décortiquer les défis qui apparaissent lorsque les États marchandisent des prérogatives souveraines. Dans ces cas, l’État joue de multiples rôles qui génèrent des conflits d’intérêts et un problème de crédibilité. Pour répondre à ces préoccupations, les États peuvent adopter deux stratégies: instaurer une division du travail dans la délivrance du produit, et sous-traiter les éléments de supervision à des acteurs tiers. Empiriquement, l’analyse montre comment les prestataires de services de migration ont réorganisé les octrois discrétionnaires de nationalité dans les pays périphériques en dispositifs formels d’acquisition de la nationalité adossés à des programmes d’investissement. La conclusion aborde la manière dont ces stratégies s’appliquent sur les marchés pour d’autres prérogatives souveraines, en particulier la dette publique, et examine les implications pour la citoyenneté et le néolibéralisme.

Zusammenfassung

Zusammenfassung

Wie wird ein hoheitliches Vorrecht auf den Markt gebracht? Wir wissen viel darüber, wie Staaten Märkte formen und umgekehrt, aber weniger über die Dynamik, wenn Staaten nicht nur die Regeln des Marktes festlegen, sondern auch der einzige Hersteller eines Marktgutes sind. Dieser Aufsatz nimmt den Fall der Staatsbürgerschaft durch Investitionen – „goldene Pass“-Programme zur Erlangung der Staatsbürgerschaft im Gegenzug zu Investitionen im jeweiligen Land – zum Anlass, um die Herausforderungen zu entschlüsseln, die entstehen, wenn Staaten souveräne Vorrechte zur Ware machen. In diesen Fällen spielt der Staat mehrere Rollen, was zu Interessenkonflikten und einem Glaubwürdigkeitsproblem führt. Um diese Bedenken auszuräumen, können die Staaten zwei Strategien verfolgen: die Einrichtung einer Arbeitsteilung bei der Bereitstellung des Marktgutes und die Auslagerung der Überwachungselemente an dritte Akteure. Empirisch zeigt die Analyse, wie Migrationsdienstleister das staatliche Vergaberecht von Staatsbürgerschaften in peripheren Ländern in formale, durch Investitionsprogramme unterstützte Programme zum Erwerb der Staatsbürgerschaft umorganisiert haben. In der Schlussfolgerung wird erörtert, wie sich diese Strategien auf Märkte anderer hoheitlicher Vorrechte, insbesondere auf die Staatsverschuldung, auswirken, und es werden die Implikationen für die Staatsbürgerschaft und den Neoliberalismus betrachtet.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© European Journal of Sociology 2021

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