My research focuses on understanding political participation in developing democracies. I am interested in why people vote, why they protest, and how the context of democratic quality shapes those choices.
My new book, Voice and Inequality: Poverty and Political Participation in Latin American Democracies (with Claudio Holzner, published in 2021 by Oxford University Press), explores patterns of voting, protesting, and contacting government for the poorest people in Latin America. We show that poor people participate at very high levels, especially when the key institutions of democracy - civil society, political parties, and competitive elections - are working well. The book won the 2022 Seligson Prize for the best scholarship using LAPOP's AmericasBarometer data in the last two years. It has also been reviewed in Perspectives on Politics and Revista Latinoamericana de Opinón Pública.
I am working on a number of projects related to Indigenous peoples in the Americas, including attitudes about Native Americans and Indigenous political participation and behavior. I have also worked on NGOs and credit-claiming, the impact of participatory budgeting on well-being, political competition and social spending, and voter turnout in Bolivia and Brazil, civil society and support for democratic political systems, and attitudes of indigenous people toward the government in Bolivia.
This year I have worked as part of a team of researchers collecting data on subnational Covid-19 policy in Bolivia for a larger project on Covid-19 policy and health outcomes in Latin America with the University of Miami.
I currently serve as the Director for the Program on International Development at the Institute of Behavioral Science and Professor in the Department of Political Science. I grew up in Boulder, CO and was thrilled to return in 2007 to join the faculty in political science and raise my daughters here.