Who’s selling? Trends and determinants of citizenship-by-investment programmes around the world

May 27, 2021 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm Europe/Rome Timezone
Valentina Bettin
A seminar on citizenship-by-investment (CBI) programmes between 1960 and 2020. An analysis of why some countries sell their citizenship, whereas others do not.

Over the past decades, an increasing number of countries have introduced citizenship-by-investment (CBI) programmes. While there is much normative controversy on this issue, the empirical study of the determinants of the introduction of CBI programmes remains limited. To investigate why some countries sell their citizenship, whereas others do not, we analyse a novel longitudinal and global dataset that captures CBI programmes between 1960 and 2020. Adopting a supply-demand logic, we hypothesise that the propensity to adopt CBI programmes is driven by political regime and economic development. While, on the one hand, developed economies will attract greater interest from citizenship investors due to the mobility privileges associated with citizenship from countries higher in the global hierarchy, middle-income countries, on the other hand, are more likely to have to rely on such programmes for economic growth than high-income countries. Moreover, while citizenship of a democratic country should be more attractive to investors, we expect that political constraints in liberal democracies makes the introduction of these controversial programmes less likely than in electoral democracies. We test these hypotheses with panel data analysis of country-level determinants associated with CBI programmes. We conclude the paper that will be presented during the seminar with reflections on the comparative research agenda on investor citizenship.

Mira Seyfettinoglu (Maastricht University)

Prof. Maarten Vink