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. At UNC, I am affiliated with the Institute for the Study of the Americas and the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program. 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.
Apart from my dissertation, some of my projects explore youth crime in Mexico; underreporting of crimes in Chile; how the race, gender, and public security platforms of candidates interact to influence their appeal to left-wing voters in the U.S.; and the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil and Mexico. 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.