Samuel D. Schmid

Political Scientist

Curriculum vitae

Do Inclusive Democracies Need Closed Borders? The Conditional Association Between Immigration and Citizenship Regimes

Working Paper

This paper summarizes the most important findings of my dissertation. Currently, the project is on hold because I am waiting for an update of the dataset with which I measure immigration regimes to expand the analysis to 2019.

Many theorists assume that the openness of borders and the inclusiveness of citizenship trade off. Yet, there is no consistent empirical evidence for this negative relationship. In this paper, I propose the boundary politics framework to explain the association between immigration and citizenship regimes in democratic states. I argue that when immigration is not politicized, immigration and citizenship politics are not correlated because they follow distinct logics. But when politicized, immigration and citizenship politics become part of a common cosmopolitan-nativist conflict about boundary-making, which manifests in a positive correlation between immigration openness and citizenship inclusiveness. Nativist parties long-term legislative power in politicized settings should further induce a common restrictive logic, making boundary regimes more closed and exclusive. I test these propositions using quantitative analyses across 23 democracies 1980-2010 along with some case study evidence. The results support but also qualify the new framework and bear implications for long-standing normative and empirical debates on boundary regime making.

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