Focus areas: Political sustainability of the commodity boom, linkages between parties and richer and poorer voters, the economic determinants of electoral volatility in Latin America, legislators and economic representation in Argentina, weak institutions in Latin America 

Maria Victoria Murillo (Ph.D., Harvard, 1997) holds a joint appointment with the Department of Political Science and the School of International and Public Affairs and is currently the Director of the Institute for Latin American Studies (ILAS).

Murillo is the author of Labor Unions, Partisan Coalitions, and Market Reforms in Latin America, which was translated as Sindicatos, Coaliciones Partidarias y Reformas de Mercado en América Latina by Siglo XXI Editores and Political Competition, Partisanship, and Policymaking in the Reform of Latin American Public Utilities. She is also the co-author of Non-Policy Politics: Richer Voters, Poorer Voters, and the Diversification of Electoral Strategies with Ernesto Calvo (Cambridge University Press 2019) and Understanding Institutional Weakness: Power and Design in Latin American Institutions (Cambridge University Press, Element in Latin American Politics and Society Series, 2019) with Daniel Brinks and Steven Levitsky. She is also the co-editor of Understanding Weak Institutions: Lessons from Latin America (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2020), Argentine Democracy: The Politics of Institutional Weakness (Penn State University Press 2005), Carreras Magisteriales, Desempeño Educativo y Sindicatos de Maestros en América Latina (Flacso, 2003), and Discutir Alfonsín (Siglo XXI, 2010). Her work has also appeared in International Organization, World Politics, American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, World Development, the Annual Review of Political Science, and many Latin American academic journals.

Murillo's research on distributive politics in Latin America has covered labor politics and labor regulations, public utility reform, education reform, agricultural policies, and economic policy more generally. Her more recent work focuses on electoral behavior, contentious dynamics, and the analysis of institutional weakness. Her empirical work is based on a variety of methods ranging from quantitative analysis of datasets built for all Latin American countries to qualitative field work in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Venezuela and survey and experiments in Argentina and Chile.

Murillo received her B.A. from the Universidad de Buenos Aires and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. Murillo has taught at Yale University, was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University (Harvard Academy for Area Studies & David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies), and at the Russell Sage Foundation, as well as a Fulbright fellow.

Research & Publications

February 2017|Electoral Studies Volume 45|Maria Victoria Murillo, Giancarlo Visconti
April 2016|Revista Chilena de Ciencia Politica|Maria Victoria Murillo, Julia Maria Rubio, Jorge Mangonnet
October 2010|Siglo XXI-Argentina|Maria Victoria Murillo

En 1983 el entusiasmo democratico invadio el espacio publico con la fuerza de un momento dundacional: impreraba la ilusion, casi el encantamiento, de que todos los problemas de la Argentina podian resolverse y de que el orden poitico podria recrearse desde la nada. Esa ilusion desmesurada y los temores que entranaba afectaron la marcha del gobierno de Alfonsin y tambien las evaluaciones que se hicieron de sus logros y fracasos. Como evaluar hoy aquellos anos? Cual es finalmente el legado que nos han dejado? El proposito cental de este libro es estudiar ese legado, con sus claroscuros y ambivalencias, a la luz de las promesas incumplidas de una democracia que, tal como se reiteraba, seria la condicion de posibilidad para que todos comieran, se curaran y se educaran.

October 2009|Annual Review of Political Science|Maria Victoria Murillo, Steven Levitsky