Economic Swings, Political Instability and Ethnic-Specific Migration in Kyrgyzstan

Evgenia Gorina, Arizona State University

Studies of the effects of economic fluctuations on migration within or toward developed countries typically focus on human capital factors such as education or skills. In many developing settings, however, both the economic and political power and opportunities are strongly conditioned by ethnic, clan, and regional divides, and therefore the impact of economic downturn or political upheaval may differ across those divides. We use recent nationally representative survey data from Kyrgyzstan to examine ethnic-specific variations in migration experiences and intentions. While preliminary analyses of migration histories do not detect a consistent migration response to economic uncertainties or political instabilities, they point to considerable and instructive ethnic differences in migration risks. Likewise, ethnic differences transpire in intentions to migrate. In addition to ethnicity, the effects of clan and region are also examined. The results are interpreted within the context of complex intersections of politics, economy, and culture in this post-Soviet setting.

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Presented in Poster Session 8