Peter Johannessen’s research explores how popular participation shapes the local policy-making process, with a regional focus on Latin America. Specifically, his book project uses evidence from Brazil’s local elections to explore how electoral representation functions in highly decentralized contexts: What are citizens’ preferences for local politics? How do citizens select and sanction politicians? And how do politicians respond to these choices? Using a mixed-methods approach, he finds that information asymmetries between politicians and citizens at the local level can lead to distorted forms of responsiveness. In other projects, he investigates the trade-offs inherent in scaling up participatory institutions and the conditions under which voters prefer inexperienced politicians.
Before joining the Ash Center, Peter was a Visiting Fellow with the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He received his Ph.D. in Politics and Social Policy from Princeton University, and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and History from the University of Vermont.