Comparative Democracy Seminar -- Non-Policy Politics: Richer Voters, Poorer Voters, and the Diversification of Electoral Strategies


Thursday, February 7, 2019, 4:15pm to 5:30pm


Ash Center Foyer, 124 Mount Auburn St., Floor 2, Suite 200N

Join us for a discussion with Maria Victoria Murillo, Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs, Columbia University. Candelaria Garay, Ford Foundation Associate Professor of Democracy, HKS, will moderate.

Murillo will talk about her recent book Non-Policy Politics: Richer Voters, Poorer Voters, and the Diversification of Electoral Strategies, which focuses on the non-policy benefits that voters consider when deciding their vote. In addition to proposing policies, parties deliver non-policy benefits, such as competent economic management, constituency service, and patronage. This book provides a unified view of how politicians deliver broad portfolios of policy and non-policy benefits to their constituency. Non-policy resources also shape parties' ideological positions. The book shows which type of electoral offers parties target to either poorer or richer voters and their implications in terms of democratic responsiveness. The theory is tested using both qualitative and quantitative research to establish how linkages between parties and voters shape the delivery of non-policy benefits in Argentina and Chile in the 2000s.

Maria Victoria MurilloMaria Victoria Murillo (Ph.D., Harvard, 1997) holds a joint appointment with the Department of Political Science and the School of International and Public Affairs.

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-editor of Argentine Democracy: The Politics of Institutional Weakness, Carreras Magisteriales, Desempeño Educativo y Sindicatos de Maestros en América Latina, and Discutir Alfonsín. 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, and economic policy more generally. Her work on political parties analyzes both their coalitional and policy implications as well as their linkages with voters in new democracies. 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.

The Ash Center’s Comparative Democracy Seminar Series, run by Candelaria Garay, Associate Professor of Public Policy, and Quinton Mayne, Associate Professor of Public Policy, brings innovative scholars in the field of comparative democracy to the Kennedy School to present their research.  Seminars have focused on topics as diverse as compulsory voting, the influence of Christian churches on public policy, the crisis of representation in Latin America, and the oil curse in the Middle East.