This paper investigates the effects of work experience abroad on political opinions using survey data from Moldova, a former soviet republic caught in an ideological battle between Russia and the West, with high emigration rates to both destinations. Contrarily to studies conducted in Africa or Latin America, we find no effect of past migration on democratic participation or on critical governance assessment. Likewise, no effect is found on domestic policy preferences. The one dimension strongly associated with migration experience is geopolitical preference, whereby return migrants from former Soviet countries are more likely to support closer ties with Russia, while return migrants from Western countries show higher support for EU integration, controlling for economic, demographic and ethnic confounding factors. For identification, we instrument individual migration with district level migrant networks. IV regressions show that only work experience in Western countries affects geopolitical preferences.
return migration political opinions Moldova survey data