Explaining the rise of diaspora institutions

Alan Gamlen, Michael E. Cummings, Paul M. Vaaler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Origin-state institutions dedicated to emigrants and their descendants have been largely unnoticed by mainstream political studies even though diaspora institutions are now found in over half the countries of the world. In response, we first develop alternative theories explaining diaspora institution emergence. They emerge to: ‘tap’ diasporas for resources vital to origin-state development and security; ‘embrace’ diasporas to help define origin-state political identity and achieve domestic political goals; or ‘govern’ diasporas in ways that demonstrate origin-state adherence to global norms. Second, we investigate empirical support for these tapping, embracing and governing explanations in regression and related analyses of diaspora institution emergence in 113 origin states observed from 1992 to 2012. Findings suggest support for all three perspectives with more robust evidentiary support for governing. Our analyses suggest several directions for future research on how and why diaspora institutions emerge for different origin-state purposes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)492-516
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 12 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Migrants
  • diaspora engagement
  • global governance
  • institutions
  • origin-state diaspora relations


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