Hans Lueders - The Political Consequences of Domestic Migration


A growing literature argues that democratic politics is nationalizing: parties are increasingly offering the same platforms throughout the country, interest in local politics is declining, and even local elections are decided by national issues. Yet, using evidence from contemporary Germany, this paper shows that nationalization is not happening uniformly across the country. While politics in some regions is indeed nationalized, local issues remain salient in others. To explain this variation, the paper draws scholarly attention to the political consequences of domestic migration. I propose that domestic migration impacts politics because of important political differences between migrants and non-migrants. Domestic migrants are more active and interested in national politics than non-migrants because of higher incomes and education levels. However, because non-migrants are more rooted in their local communities, non-migrants are more invested in local politics. As a consequence, domestic migration leads to a concentration of voters with a national political focus in in-migration areas, while local political identities are preserved in out-migration areas. While politics is nationalized in in-migration areas, the reverse is true of out-migration areas. I provide support for this argument using household panel data, and comprehensive data on cross-county migration, voting in federal and local elections, and civil society organizations in contemporary Germany.


Hans Lueders is a Ph.D. Candidate in political science, specializing in comparative politics, international relations, and quantitative methodology. His research focuses on the politics of migration and political representation. His dissertation project explores the political consequences of domestic migration. Focusing on both the former socialist German Democratic Republic and contemporary, democratic Germany, Hans argues that domestic migration alters politics in both sending and receiving areas due to the political differences between migrants and non-migrants. In a second, co-authored book project, he investigates how migration alters politics, social ties, and service delivery in sub-Saharan Africa. Hans also studies the quality of democratic institutions and political representation, with projects on responsiveness and accountability surrounding non-competitive elections, sources of citizen dissatisfaction with democracy, political campaigning, and democratic backsliding.

Hans is a graduate fellow at the Immigration Policy Lab at Stanford, where he researches how local policies impact the integration of and migration patterns among unauthorized immigrants in the United States.

His work has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the Journal of Politics, and the European Political Science Review, among others.

Before attending Stanford, Hans completed a B.A. and M.A. in Political Science at Heidelberg University and spent two years as exchange scholar and Visiting Assistant in Research at the Department of Political Science at Yale University.