My name is Isabel Laterzo (she/her/hers) 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.

My research focuses on how crime and violence influence politics (and vice versa). My dissertation examines gubernatorial elections in Brazil and Mexico, and the ways in which candidates address crime and violence in their platforms. I examine how, often counterintuitively, “progressive” politicians offer punitive policies to their constituents and “conservative” politicians offer prevention-based solutions.

In other related research, I explore youth crime in Mexico and mechanisms of blame attribution, citizen preferences for punitive security policies, and underreporting of crimes. In addition, complementary work examines elite cues, partisanship, and political behavior in Latin America. Current projects explore subnational compliance with COVID-19 social distancing measures in response to conflicting elite cues and methodological corrections for the electoral cycle effects on commonly used partisanship measures.

My work has been published in the Revista Latinoamericana de Opinión Pública. My research and studies have been supported by UNC Chapel Hill’s Department of Political Science, UNC’s Institute for the Study of the Americas, the Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA), the U.S. Department of State, and USAID.

Outside of my research, I am passionate about educational access and equity. Currently, I am an academic mentor for students in prison, through UNC’s Correctional Education Program (CEP). Apart from this work, I spend my time outside with my dog or exploring the Research Triangle by foot or bike.