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Keywords:

  • INTERNATIONAL TELEPHONY;
  • MIGRATION;
  • TELECOMMUNICATION NETWORKS;
  • TRANSNATIONALISM;
  • CONNECTIVITY

Abstract

Recent work suggests that migrants have been a major driving force in the dramatic growth of international telephony over recent decades, accounting for large rises in telephone calls between countries with strong immigrant/emigrant connections. Yet, the existing literature has done a poor job of evaluating the substantive importance of migrants in explaining large disparities in levels of bilateral voice traffic observed between different countries. It has also failed to go very far in examining how domestic and relational factors moderate (namely amplify or attenuate) the influence of migrant stocks on international calling. Our contribution addresses these gaps in the literature. For a sample, which includes a far larger number of countries than previous studies, we show that, together with shorter-term visitors, bilateral migrant stocks emerge as the relational variable with one of the substantively largest influences over cross-national patterns of telephone calls. We also find that the effect of bilateral migrant stocks on inter-country telephone traffic is greater where the country pairs are richer and more spatially distant from one another.