Not Yours to Sell: The Case Against Private Citizenship Markets

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Should it be permissible for individuals to sell their own citizenship? In brief: no. Against recent defenses of the idea of private citizenship markets, I argue that these markets cannot be legitimately established. First, I examine existing arguments in the literature in support of such markets, and argue that they do not present sufficient reasons for justifying the establishment of private citizenship markets. Second, I argue that the very idea of private citizenship markets is a non-starter, as the privatization of citizenship allocation undermines the justification for the collective right to exclude from membership. As a result, the case for private citizenship markets fails. Finally, I consider some possible objections to my argument and potential implications of it beyond the case of private citizenship markets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1089-1101
Number of pages13
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • citizenship
  • democratic self-determination
  • immigration
  • privatization
  • the right to exclude

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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