About Me

I am the Robert A. Oden, Jr. Postdoctoral Fellow for Innovation in the Liberal Arts and Political Science at Carleton College (Northfield, MN, USA). I hold a PhD in Politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. I specialize in the political economy of state service provision across territory in Latin America, with a focus on Colombia.

My current project studies social policy responses to COVID-19 in Colombia. Focusing on 23 cities, the study aims to characterize subnational governments’ emergency assistance measures for “urban outsiders” (poor city residents who are not covered by existing social programs) and how beneficiaries are being identified and selected. It also seeks to explain why different subnational governments have adopted different approaches for identifying and assisting outsiders.  Read more about it here.

My PhD dissertation focuses on economic hotspots in otherwise isolated rural localities, such as large-scale oil and mining projects, industrial monocrops, and hydroelectric dams. It asks what it takes for the state to function effectively around subnational economic hotspots. Read a summary of my dissertation argument here.

I am coauthor of the Democratic Decentralization Programming Handbook, published by USAID’s Center for Democracy, Human Rights and Governance, with Kent Eaton, Sarah Shair-Rosenfield, and Cynthia Clapp-Wincek.

I also study the relationship between natural resources and armed conflict. I coedited the book Different Resources, Different Conflicts? The Subnational Political Economy of Armed Conflict and Crime in Colombia (Ediciones Uniandes, 2020), with Angelika Rettberg, Ralf J. Leiteritz, and Carlo Nasi, and coauthored the book’s chapter on oil with Angelika Rettberg (“A Crude Conflict: Oil, Armed Conflict and Crime in Colombia”).

I have also examined the local dimensions of peacebuilding and transitional justice in Colombia. The findings appear in the book Guerras, paces y vidas entrelazadas: coexistencia y relaciones locales entre víctimas, excombatientes y comunidades en Colombia (Ediciones Uniandes, 2012). An English version of my argument was also published in the International Journal of Transitional Justice.

In collaboration with other scholars, I have examined many other aspects of subnational politics in Latin America. In a coauthored chapter with Kent Eaton (UC Santa Cruz), we contributed to discussions on “subnational authoritarianism” by focusing on unitary countries (rather than the usual federal suspects), drawing on evidence from the aftermath of the parapolítica scandal in Colombia. Our work appears in Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean, edited by Tina Hilgers and Lauren Macdonald (Cambridge University Press, 2017). In an ongoing project with Will G. Freeman (Princeton University), we are investigating the claim that Colombia’s accountability institutions systematically and disproportionately investigate and sanction politicians who represent alternatives to the country’s traditional parties (read the most recent version of our working paper here).