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Migrant Remittances and Violent Responses to Crime in Latin America and the Caribbean

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 May 2021

Ana Isabel López García
Ana Isabel López García is a postdoctoral researcher at the Chair of Conflict and Development in the Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany.
Barry Maydom
Barry Maydom is a lecturer in politics in the Department of Politics, Birkbeck, University of London, London, UK.


High levels of crime are a key driver of emigration from Latin America and the Caribbean. But can emigration change public opinion about how best to respond to crime? Focusing on the political economy of remittances—the money migrants send to their families and communities—this study argues that emigration can increase support for violent responses to crime. Migrants’ families often spend remittances on investment goods, which makes them more vulnerable to crime and more supportive of violence to protect themselves. An analysis of AmericasBarometer data finds that remittance recipients are more likely both to fear crime and to be victims of crime than nonrecipients. They are also more approving of vigilantism, more tolerant of police bending the law to apprehend criminals, and more supportive of deploying the military in crime fighting. These findings contribute to our knowledge of the consequences of international migration for political development in migrant-sending countries.

Research Article
© The Authors, 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the University of Miami

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Conflict of interest: We confirm that we have no competing interests regarding publication of the manuscript.



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