The debate on dual citizenship has been fairly frantic in recent times culminating in new provisions in the current Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill 2010, albeit in an extremely limited way. At the heart of the pro-dual citizenship camp's argument was that the absence of the provision negated remittances and prevented legitimate Zambians abroad from getting involved in the economic life of the nation. What does international evidence tell us? A new paper finds some support from cross country evidence :
This paper examined the role of the recognition of the dual-citizenship on both the level of remittance inflows and the utilization of remittances in receiving economies of the developing world. It mobilizes a large cross-section of countries (103) observed over the period 2000-2009 and finds that countries which recognize a dual-citizenship status receive more remittances than others. Moreover, the results also highlighted that remittances are strongly channelled into investment in these countries compared to the others.
The policy implications of these results are two-folds. First, the issue of the dual citizenship recognition would be taken into account among all the strategies designed domestically and internationally in favour of sustaining remittances. Second, the recognition of the dual citizenship also enters the debate on the ways to increase the benefits of remittance inflows by encouraging their reinvestment. The paper shows that countries which have already allowed getting a dual-citizenship perform better in terms of more investment motivated remittances.
The results make interesting observations, but unfortunately the paper does not deal sufficiently with some of the empirical challenges, particularly reversal causality issues. It appears the authors did not consider the possibility that remittances can also buy political influence. So is it that dual citizenship leads to remittances or does more remittances lead to the nation granting dual citizenship? Incidentally, the paper does not also control for things like conflict and culture. But it is still an interesting question.