Nikhar Gaikwad | August 31 | American Journal of Political Science

The world is urbanizing at a lightening pace. This is especially true in developing countries, as migrants relocate from rural areas to towns and cities in search of jobs, education, and cosmopolitan lifestyles. Yet shifting to new destinations is challenging. Poorer migrants often find themselves consigned to urban peripheries, and rank among the most marginalized classes of citizens in developing countries globally.  

In our new paper, “Do Politicians Discriminate Against Internal Migrants?” we theorize and investigate the kind of treatment internal migrants receive when they move to new destinationsIn particular, we test whether elected urban politicians treat migrants’ requests for basic constituency services similarly or differently to requests from long-term city residents (city “natives, so to speak).  

We suspect there to be at least three reasons why urban politicians would be less solicitous of migrant versus local requests. First, politicians may harbor prejudice against migrant “outsiders.” Second, they might channel the nativist preferences of the bulk of their voting constituents: locals who fear that the arrival of waves of newcomers will depress job opportunities in the area, create competition for scarce state resources, and lead to ethno-cultural “dilution.” Third, politicians may think that migrants will be unlikely to take part in local elections, curtailing incentives to respond to this group’s interests. 

Originally published by The American Journal of Political Science. Read more here.