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Weighing the political and economic motivations for migration in post-soviet Space: The case of Uzbekistan

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This article investigates the micro-level considerations leading to the decision to migrate within the former Soviet Union. By conducting a survey and focus group of minorities in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, it specifies hypotheses from the theoretical literature on migration centred on political/national and economic factors and their interaction, and then tests them in the field. The results indicate that economic factors were of primary importance in explaining people's decisions and political factors were rarely sufficient to produce migration. Nation-building and everyday nationalism influenced migration decisions only insofar as they affected people's material well being, by creating language barriers and facilitating the preferential treatment of locals over minorities in receiving employment. The most decisive factor was the perception of overall economic decline that decreased people's standards of living and diminished their prospects for employment and opportunities for their children. Researchers must therefore pay more attention to the effects of structural decline on individual households and the interaction of political and economic factors in the decision to migrate.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Publication date: 2006-07-01

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