The electoral cycle of international migration flows from Latin America

Gilbert Brenes-Camacho



Political events tend to have an impact on human geographical mobility. Using the Mexican Migration Project (MMP) and the Latin American Migration Project (LAMP) datasets, this study looks at whether there is an association between electoral cycles and emigration and return migration flows in 6 Latin American countries: Mexico, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Peru and Guatemala.  Results showed that there is a statistical association between election years and emigration and return migration flows, but that the electoral cycles of the Nicaraguan, Peruvian, and Mexican flows are the only ones with the expected pattern.  The political business cycle modified the effects of the electoral years on return migration in all the studied countries, except in Nicaragua.  Fewer changes were observed in first emigration flows, when the models controlled for economic performance indicators. The article showed that first emigration and return migration are associated with the timing of elections in several Latin American countries.  However, the direction of this association is not uniform across the studied countries.


Gilbert BRENES-CAMACHO, PhD Assistant Professor, School of Statistics; Researcher in Demography, Centro Centroamericano de Población (CCP), Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro de Montes de  Oca, San José 2060, Costa Rica. E-mail:,


international migration; Latin America; elections

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ISSN: 2035-5556

Reg. Tribunale di Roma n. 3321/54