I study comparative politics with a regional focus on Latin America. My research interests include political violence and its legacies, state formation, institutional change, human rights, and international anti-corruption efforts.
2023. Undermining the State from Within: The Institutional Legacies of Civil War in Central America. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Other Peer-Reviewed Publications:
2022. "Guatemala 2021: Reconsolidating Impunity and Reversing Democracy." Revista de Ciencia Política 42(2): 309-322.
2022. “Rewriting the Rules of Land Reform: The Institutional Legacies of War in Nicaragua.” Small Wars & Insurgencies. First View.
2022. "'To Make Men Believe Their Rebellion Just': Thomas Hobbes and the Study of Civil War" (with Dan Kapust). Polity 54(2): 359-384.
2021. "How Predatory Informal Rules Outlast State Reform: Evidence from Post-Authoritarian Guatemala." Latin American Politics and Society 63(1): 49-71.
2020. "Guatemala: The Military in Politics" (with Anita Isaacs). Oxford Encyclopedia of the Military in Politics.
2020. "Conjuring the Criminal State: Rethinking the 'State-Idea' in Post-Conflict Reconstruction and International State-Building." Journal of Global Security Studies. 6(2).
2020. "Civil War, Institutional Change, and the Criminalization of the State: Evidence from Guatemala." Studies in Comparative International Development 55(3): 381-401.
2018. "What Drives Violence Against Civilians in Civil War: Evidence from Guatemala's Conflict Archives" (with Scott Straus). Journal of Peace Research 55(2): 222-235.
2018. "Rethinking Comparison in Political Science" (with Erica S. Simmons and Nick Rush Smith). Qualitative and Multi-Method Research 16(1): 1-7.
2023. "A Durable but Impoverished Peace: Evaluating Twenty-Five Years of Peacebuilding in Guatemala." State-Society Relations in Guatemala: Theory and Practice. Ed. Omar Sánchez-Sibony. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. 147-172.
2022. "Nicaragua: Populist Performance and Authoritarian Practice during COVID-19" (with Kai M. Thaler). Populists and the Pandemic: How Populists Around the World Responded to COVID-19. Eds. Nils Ringe and Lucio Rennó. London: Routledge Studies in Extremism and Democracy. 184-195.
2018. "From Reconciliation to the Rule of Law: The Shifting Landscape of International Transitional Justice Assistance to Guatemala" (with Anita Isaacs). Transitional Justice, International Assistance, and Civil Society: Missed Connections. Eds. Paige Arthur and Christalla Yakinthou. New York: Cambridge University Press. 27-51.
Working Papers (copies available upon request):
"Embracing the Crisis of Research Design: How to Salvage Fieldwork When Things Fall Apart"
"When Counterinsurgent Institutions Persist: Unpacking Local Wartime Legacies" (with Reo Matsuzaki)
"International Anti-Corruption Commissions in Latin America: Pathways of Emergence"
"Leveraging Country Expertise: How Political Scientists Can Support the Asylum Process" (with Hannah S. Chapman)
Select Commentary and Analysis:
"If Election Deniers Succeed, Guatemala Will Have Lost the Battle for Democracy" (with Anita Isaacs and Álvaro Montenegro), The New York Times, July 6, 2023. (Leer en español)
"Guatemala: Resisting Democratic Backsliding in the Least Likely of Places?" Democracy Paradox. June 26, 2023.
"Guatemala will elect a new president on Sunday. Here are three things to know," Monkey Cage, August 9, 2019.
"A Victory for Guatemala's Pacto de Corruptos," NACLA Report on the Americas, June 21, 2019.
"Guatemala's Anti-Corruption Struggle Teeters on the Edge," NACLA Report on the Americas 51(2): 200-205.
"Why are so many children migrating to the U.S. from Central America in the first place?" Monkey Cage, June 29, 2018.
"Is Russia interfering in Guatemala's anti-corruption commission? The real story might surprise you," Monkey Cage, May 9, 2018.
"Guatemala's president tried to expel the U.N. commissioner who announced he was under investigation," Monkey Cage, September 6, 2017.
Photo of statues of FSLN founders Tomás Borge (left) and Carlos Fonseca (right), Central Plaza, Matagalpa, Nicaragua, 20 December 2016 © Rachel Schwartz