The Power of Narratives: Exploring the Influence of Propaganda Narratives on U.S. Ethiopian Migrants’ Remittance-Sending Behavior Post 2020 Ethiopia/Tigray Conflict

Name: Alegnta Dawit Mezmur
Major: Global and International Studies, Economics Concentration
Minor: Data Science
Advisors: Edward Teather-Posadas, Philip Mellizo

Research Supported by the Copeland Fund

This thesis examines the impact of propaganda narratives on the remittance-sending behavior of U.S. Ethiopian migrants during the 2020 conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. The study investigates how exposure to nationalism and ethnonationalism propaganda narratives shapes the beliefs and perception of migrants, and how conviction and alignment towards these narratives affect their remittance behavior. Using the conviction narrative theoretical framework,the research analyzes pre/post-conflict remittance frequency, channels, and recipients of 89 U.S. Ethiopian migrants. The results reveal that the conflicting propaganda narratives had significant effects on the respondents’ remittance sending behavior, with the majority increasing their frequency of sending, choosing informal channels for sending, and diversifying their recipients of remittances. However, the impact of propaganda narratives differed based on the respondents’ conviction level. The findings have important implications for policymakers, remittance providers, and development organizations interested in designing interventions to support migrants during periods of political instability and contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between propaganda exposure, conviction, and remittance-sending behavior.

Posted in Comments Enabled, Independent Study, Symposium 2023 on April 11, 2023.

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