Do passports pay off? Assessing the economic outcomes of citizenship by investment programs

Kristin Surak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Increasingly countries are adopting programs that allow investors to qualify for citizenship based on the purchase of real estate, bonds, or businesses, or on a donation to the government. States often cite economic need behind their implementation of such ‘citizenship by investment’ (CBI) schemes, yet little research has analyzed their economic impacts. Does the sale of citizenship bring positive economic benefits? To answer this question, this article draws on a new database, alongside nine years of qualitative research, to dissect the economic dynamics and outcomes of the programs. It first offers a general comparison of the macroeconomic impact of the nine largest CBI programs globally. It then turns to the countries that are most reliant on CBI as an income source to evaluate the significance of the funds to their economic health. The analysis highlights the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on demand for and the economic outcomes of the programs. It also addresses important methodological issues when evaluating the economic outcomes of programs. The conclusion discusses several points to consider in refining programs to facilitate wider economic growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • citizenship
  • Citizenship by investment
  • dependency
  • golden passports
  • mobility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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