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Lithuanian Emigrants and Home–Country Elections 2014–2016



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Maminskaite, Monika 


Whilst a growing, even if still relatively scarce, body of empirical political science literature has been addressing the increasingly important topic of voting from abroad, studies of external voters from Central and Eastern European countries of origin lag behind considerably. The highly relevant case of Lithuania has to date not been studied altogether. This dissertation addresses this overlooked research topic using original survey and interview data. The topic is approached through three research questions: Which Lithuanian emigrants are aware of and interested in home–country politics? Which Lithuanian emigrants vote and which abstain from home–country elections, and why? How do Lithuanian emigrants make their political choices?

This thesis helps us start painting a clearer picture of the external Lithuanian electorate. Among other findings, it suggests Lithuanian emigrants to be most interested in and aware of home–country politics if they intend to return there one day, notwithstanding how long they have been residing abroad. Possible reasons for this finding are offered. Interest, in turn, is suggested by the quantitative data to be, overall, a better predictor of participating in home–country elections than knowledge. There is also evidence for effects of voting costs, political trust and perceived efficacy. In accordance with the Michigan school, emigrants appear to be making at least some of their political choices ideologically, whereas socio–economic factors underscored by the Columbia school are of a lesser bearing at individual level, even if at macro level Lithuanian external voters’ choices tend to correspond to the ‘high socio–economic status’ internal electorate. Support for rational choice theory of voting is also discussed.

In addition to offering the first–ever account of the Lithuanian case, this thesis contributes to the global scholarship on emigrant voting. Its findings are discussed within a broader context of micro– and macro–level research on external voting, and within growing work on transnational political engagement and inherent ‘resocialisation’ and ‘complementarity’ perspectives.





van Houten, Pieter


emigrant voting, emigration, external voting, Lithuania, voting behaviour


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge