Contributivism - On Practices, Debates and Attitudes about grounding democratic inclusion on economic contributions

Time period: 2019-01-01 to 2022-12-31

Project leader: Anna-Sara Lind

Other personnel: Anna-Sara Lind, Johan Wejryd, Anthoula Malkopoulou, Jonas Hultin Rosenberg, Elena Prats

Funder: Swedish Research Council

Type of award: Project grant

Total fundning: 5 968 000 SEK

Contributivism is the idea that economic contribution grounds political influence in the form of franchise. This project investigates institutional embodiments and political prospects of this idea in the EU today. The institutional forms we study include legal practices that make economic contributions a ground for enfranchisement either directly, as in citizenship-by-investment program that give direct access to franchise, or indirectly as in investment immigration policies. We focus primarily on the first kind, common in Eastern and Southern Europe. Then we look at the political prospects of contributivism spreading to other parts of the EU. Four countries – UK, Germany, France, and Italy – are investigated. In order to establish these prospects, we examine what law-makers claim by studying parliamentary debates on voting rights for foreign residents and non-resident citizens, and then we probe contributivist attitudes in the electorate. The research design combines theory development with systematic empirical studies: in-depth comparative studies of the laws enabling “citizenship for sale”, medium-N cross-national analysis of parliamentary debates and surveys on popular attitudes by means of conjoint analyses. This methodology was chosen because we need a multidisciplinary approach and cross-national comparisons to understand how contributivism is currently practiced and if it is making a come-back, which we suspect it may.