Global Citizenship 2.0 – The Growth of Citizenship by Investment Programs – IMC-RP 2016/3
What explains the growth of citizenship by investment programs and what are the implications for citizenship more broadly? This paper investigates an under-studied yet rapidly developing avenue for naturalization: jus pecuniae, or the acquisition of citizenship through financial contribution. The existing literature divides between exuberant economists touting the utility of market mechanisms to control political membership, and cautious political and legal theorists concerned about the effect of investor citizenship on democracy. Adding empirical grounding to these largely theoretical debates, this paper draws on qualitative fieldwork on the citizenship by investment industry and the countries that implement these programs to delineate the dynamics of jus pecuniae and its implications for citizenship more broadly. The analysis specifies the distinctive properties of citizenship as a commodity: the state plays a dual role as both sole
producer and market regulator, and the use-value of citizenship depends on factors both internal and external to the granting state. It then situates formal citizenship by investment programs within a broader field encompassing immigrant investor visas and discretionary economic citizenship. And it identifies how this field conditioned the development and remarkable spread of these formal programs in recent years, and the role of geopolitical inequalities and industry actors in this transformation. In conclusion, it elaborates four ways in which consideration of jus pecuniae can contribute to our understanding of broader transformations in citizenship, including its relationship to strategic action, territory, inequality, and private actors.
Dr Kristin Surak, Associate Professor of Politics at SOAS, University of London