My name is Isabel Laterzo (she/her) and I am a Political Science PhD Candidate studying Comparative Politics and Quantitative Methodology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I hold an M.A. in Political Science from the same university and a B.A. in International Relations from Claremont McKenna College.
I research how crime and violence influence politics (and vice versa), with a focus on Latin America. In my dissertation, I analyze the ways in which politicians campaign on public security, and how they address crime and violence when in office. I leverage both computational social science techniques and qualitative fieldwork for this project. From May-December 2022 I was based in Brazil, where I conducted expert interviews and observed the 2022 elections.
Some of my other research explores youth crime in Mexico, underreporting of crimes in Chile, and elite cues and political behavior related to COVID-19. My work has been published in The Journal of Politics in Latin America and Revista Latinoamericana de Opinión Pública and covered in popular news outlets such as The Washington Post. My research and studies have been supported by the Brazilian Studies Association, the U.S. Department of State, USAID, and the U.S. Department of Education, among other organizations. I am also a co-founder and organizer of the Violence, Instability, and Peace (VIP) Workshop. Before my academic career, I worked in education consulting.