State-Level Citizen Response to COVID-19 Containment Measures in Brazil and Mexico, with Claire Dunn. The Journal of Politics in Latin America, 2021.

  • Covered in The Washington Post
  • Recipient of the Best Paper Award from LASA’s Subnational Politics and Society Section (2022)

Political Engagement and Crime Victimization: A Causal Analysis, Revista Latinoamericana de Opinión Publica, 2021.

Working Papers

Progressive Ideology and Support for Punitive Crime Policy: Evidence from Brazil and Argentina, [Working Paper] [Appendix], Revise & Resubmit at Comparative Political Studies

The Legacy of Mexico’s Drug War on Youth Political Attitudes, with Omar García-Ponce, Revise & Resubmit at The Journal of Politics [Working Paper] [Appendix]

Who is to Blame? Youth Crime and Attribution of Responsibility in Urban Mexico, with Omar García-Ponce, Vivian Bronsoler, Elisa Lavore, & Shahriar Kibriya, Revise & Resubmit at The Journal of Criminal Justice [Working Paper] [Appendix]

A New Typology of Political Positions on Public Security: Evidence from Brazil” (Dissertation Chapter)

The ‘Tough-on-Crime’ Left: Race, Gender, and Elections of Law and Order Democrats, with Leah Christiani [Pre-Analysis Plans: Part 1 & Part 2]

Applications of Small Area Estimation Strategies for Non-Homicidal Crimes and Insecurity


In my dissertation, I investigate public security policy in the Americas, with particular attention paid to the way in which political actors conceptualize, propose, and pursue related agendas. I do so via a subnational analysis of the case of Brazil, a country with comparatively high levels of violence and issue salience among the electorate, but where public security realities and political dynamics vary substantially across federal units.

In Part One, I analyze and critique the past literature and traditions regarding concepts and measures for public security. I offer a new way to consider and measure public security policy proposals, one that does not assume an ideological link. I show ideology is an incomplete explanation for politicians’ proposals in the majority of public security policy areas. In Part Two, I analyze the forces which influence politicians – primarily candidates for governor – to campaign on different public security proposals, focusing on state-level contextual factors (e.g., violence, police lethality) and the political power of the police. In Part Three, I examine how elected officials act with regard to public security. I do this by 1) leveraging fine-grained administrative data regarding both public security spending and incarceration and 2) examining executive relations between governors and police forces, namely by their direct placement within gubernatorial cabinets.

My work relies on a mixed-methods approach, leveraging both a variety of computational social science techniques and in-depth, qualitative fieldwork. Quantitatively, I take advantage of rich sources of text data, including political candidate manifestos and social media rhetoric during four national elections. I also use fine-grained administrative data, including data from Brazil’s Superior Electoral Tribunal, state-level budgetary data, and data regarding incarceration rates by demographic subgroups across subnational units. Qualitatively, I engage in seven months of fieldwork across three Brazilian states during the 2022 national election season, completing about 100 expert interviews with key public security stakeholders.

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