About

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 and am currently a Fulbright-Hays Fellow in Brazil. I hold an M.A. in Political Science from the same university and a B.A. in International Relations from Claremont McKenna College.

I predominantly research how crime and violence influence politics (and vice versa). My dissertation examines gubernatorial elections in Brazil and Mexico. I analyze the ways in which candidates address crime and violence in their platforms, both via official manifestos and social media discourse. I employ both computational social science methods and qualitative fieldwork-based analysis in this work. From May-December 2022 I am conducting fieldwork for this project, including expert interviews and observation of the 2022 Brazilian elections, via a Fulbright-Hays DDRA award. Via this grant, I will be a visiting researcher at three universities in Brazil: the Fundação Getulio Vargas Foundation (Rio de Janeiro), the Federal University of Bahia, and the Federal University of Minas Gerais.

In other related research, I explore youth crime in Mexico and underreporting of crimes in Chile. In addition, complementary work examines elite cues, partisanship, and political behavior in Latin America as it relates 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 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, USAID, and the U.S. Department of Education.