Academic Articles

WoS Publications

2023. "Predictors of perceptions of human rights violations during the Chilean social outburst of 2019." Frontiers in Psychology, 14. Coauthored with Fabiola Carrasco.

The 2019 social outburst was a watershed moment for Chilean politics and society. One of its defining features was the scale and severeness of human rights violations committed by the armed forces and the Police during the demonstrations and riots, which were reported by various independent and international sources. Few works, however, have systematically analyzed perceptions of human rights violations in this type of contentious context. Using data from a nationally representative survey fielded during the unrest, we identify the correlates of perceptions of human rights violations during the outburst through ordered logistic regressions. We find that participation in demonstrations, use of social media for political information, fear of crime and proximity to violent protests are correlated with the perception that security forces violated human rights frequently during the outburst.

2023. "Social policy expansion from below? The case of Chile’s student movement and free tuition higher education." World Development, 167. Coauthored with Sofía Donoso and Belén Cumsille.

Scholars have long sought to establish the strategies through which social movements can impact policy adoption. Yet, there is little evidence on the role they may play in policy expansion. We study the role of social movements in broadening the scope of social policies by analyzing whether Chile’s student movement impacted the expansion of the free college tuition policy between 2015 and 2020. We evaluate three mechanisms to assess the student movement’s influence on free tuition expansion. First, movements may use protests to affect the expansion process through disruption. Second, they can make use of their connections with and presence in parties and the bureaucracy to channel their demands and influence decision-making instances. Finally, movements may also try to shape public opinion to affect the scope of the policy through mobilizations and other forms of influence. We use a process tracing design to examine these mechanisms. We collect and analyze evidence from 32 elite interviews, congressional and administrative records, web scraped news, and public opinion and protest event data. Our results show that students influenced the implementation of the free tuition policy through all mechanisms using different strategies. First, students used protests to set free tuition in the public agenda. Second,
and the most important strategy, by means of connections with incumbent parties and the presence of former student activists in the Education Ministry and in Congress, they indirectly influenced policy expansion. Finally, and indirectly, they shaped public opinion in favor of free tuition. Students played a role in defining the pace and scope of the policy but could not imprint all their demands. Overall, our analysis sheds light over the ways in which social movement can influence the implementation of policies, thus, expanding the scope of equity-enhancing social policies in Latin America and beyond.

2022. "Implementing Local Participatory Institutions: Evidence from the Chilean Communes." Local Government Studies, 48(1): 107-128. Coauthored with Edgar Rebolledo.

This article analyses the factors shaping the implementation of local participatory institutions (LPI) using evidence from Chile’s 345 communes. Based on the literature on participatory politics, it identifies several factors associated with the implementation of LPI, which are categorised into two dimensions: municipal supply vs. civic demand, and capacity vs. agency. Regression analyses show that explanations emphasising social structure, and to a lesser extent, municipal capacity, have more explanatory power than the ones emphasising municipal and social agency. Specifically, municipal financial and professional capacity, and local poverty and population size have important effects on LPI implementation

2021. "The Nearness of Youth: Spatial and Temporal Effects of Protests on Political Attitudes in Chile." Latin American Politics and Society, 63(1): 72-94.

Social movement research indicates that mobilization can effect change on political attitudes, yet few works have systematically tested the effect of protests on public opinion. This article uses survey and protest event data to assess the spatial and temporal effect of mobilizations on political attitudes in Chile. It combines the 2008, 2010, and 2012 LAPOP surveys and a dataset of college student protest events, mapping respondents and protests at the municipal level using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Using regression analyses, it finds that proximity to college student protests has a significant effect on various political attitudes. The effect, however, tends to be substantively larger on “weak” attitudes, while it tends to be smaller on “strong” ones. The results highlight the importance of mobilizations in shaping individual political attitudes, and the role that social movements play in the policymaking process.

2021. "No water in the oasis: the Chilean Spring of 2019–2020." Social Movement Studies, 20(4): 495-502. Coauthored with Nicolás M. Somma, Rodrigo Medel, and Matías Bargsted.

We analyze the Chilean Spring of 2019-2020 – the fiercest social outburst in Chile during the last three decades. After discussing the combined role of long-standing grievances, political attitudes, and cultural change in triggering the outburst, we study the interplay among peaceful and violent protests and criminal activity. We argue that brutal police repression and governmental mismanagement contributed to deepening the crisis once it exploded. We conclude by describing the attempts of the political class to cope with the crisis and speculate about its potential political consequences, especially for the Chilean party system.

2020. “Policies, Parties, and Protests: Explaining Student Protest Events in Latin America.” Social Movement Studies, 19(2): 183-200.

What explains variation in the emergence of college student protests in Latin America? This study uses an original dataset of 4,700 college student protests to carry out a systematic analysis of student mobilization in the region. This article tests three hypotheses based on two distinct but complementary explanations. The political explanation argues that stronger organizational linkages with ruling parties have a demobilizing effect, while the explanation based on grievances claims that increases in enrollments and private expenditures promote mobilization. Regression analyses are used to tests these claims. Increased private spending does not affect mobilization, while expanded access to college does increase the frequency of protests. To gauge the effect of party linkages, two student party linkages scores, based on an expert survey, are used. The findings show that stronger linkages with ruling parties lower protest frequency whereas linkages with the opposition do not have a significant effect.

2019. “Chile 2010: la desafección política y su impacto en la participación política convencional y no convencional.Revista del CLAD Reforma y Democracia, 73: 189-226. Coauthored with Roberto Mardones.

The decline in political participation in Chile since the 1990s gave rise, beginning in the early 2000s, to a discussion about political disaffection. To what extent does political disaffection influence decreased political participation? Previous studies have generally been theoretical and descriptive, and have only associated disaffection with electoral participation. This study argues that higher levels of political disaffection are associated with decreased conventional and nonconventional political participation. To support our claim, we use the Auditoría a la Democracia (2010) survey to carry out statistical analyses of political disaffection on different types of political participation. The results show that political disaffection is a compound and internally consistent concept, consisting of attitudes of distrust towards political actors and institutions, disinterest in politics, internal and external inefficacy, and dissatisfaction with democracy. Regression analyses using participation indexes as the dependent variable also conclude that disaffection has a negative effect on both conventional and nonconventional political participation.

2018. “Sentenced to Debt: Explaining Student Mobilization in Latin America.” Latin American Research Review, 53(3): 448-465.

In 2011, Chilean students mobilized in the largest demonstrations since the country’s return to democracy. Students in some other Latin American countries have also carried out mass demonstrations in recent years. What explains students’ participation in mobilizations in Latin America? This article argues that financial grievances generated by neoliberal education policies and the massification of higher education are major causes of student protest participation. In addition, it shows how weak organizational linkages with ruling political parties increase the likelihood of mobilization. The theory is explored through a case study of higher education policy, student-party linkages, and student mobilization in Chile from 1990 to 2011. A statistical analysis of a survey of Chilean students demonstrates that a working-class background, using debt to finance education, and weak programmatic connections to parties in power are associated with higher levels of protest participation.

Scopus Publications

2022. "Democracy in Tumultuous Times: Protests, Pandemic, and Plebiscite in ChileEconomía y Política, 9(2): 101-146. Coauthored with Rocío Sáez and Matías Godoy.

In 2020, Chile carried out a historic plebiscite that decided, by a broad margin, to begin a constitution-making process. The vote took place in a tumultuous context, marked by the 2019 social outburst and the COVID-19 pandemic. This article explains how these circumstances were associated with turnout, which experienced a slight increase relative to previous elections. District-level regression analyses of Chile’s 345 communes suggest that different impacts of the pandemic were both positively and negatively associated with turnout. Additionally, exposure to both nonviolent and violent protests during the social outburst depressed turnout, particularly in more Right-wing areas.

2021. "Más allá de las cuotas de género: Comportamiento legislativo de las Diputadas y la representación sustantiva de las mujeres en Chile." In J. Suárez-Cao, J. Arce-Riffo, S. Riquelme Parra, C. Acevedo de la Harpe, N. Espinoza Soto, R. Disi Pavlic, B. Roque, V. Moyano, & B. Vega Elizondo, Los legados de represión y exclusión en Chile ante la oportunidad de la nueva Constitución, IBEROAMERICANA. América Latina—España – Portugal, 21(77): 239-270. Coauthored with Carolina Acevedo and Natalia Espinoza.

El establecimiento de cuotas de género electorales por listas significó un avance frente a la severa sub-representación de las mujeres en el Congreso chileno, consiguiendo ampliar el número de candidatas inscritas y modestamente el de las electas. Sumado a lo anterior, una ola de protestas y manifestaciones feministas desde el año 2018 han sido parte de un cambio político y cultural hacia la equidad de género. Ante este leve avance en la brecha institucional, nos parece interesante identificar cómo aquellas representantes electas resguardan a través de su trabajo político, específicamente a través de su comportamiento legislativo, los derechos de las mujeres. El análisis de esta temática se vuelve particularmente oportuno considerando el copado calendario electoral chileno de 2021, que incluye la elección de la futura Convención Constitucional, la que además será paritaria.

2021. "Enseñando con actitud: ¿cuán efectiva ha sido la formación ciudadana en Chile?" Education Policy Analysis Archives/Archivos Analíticos de Políticas Educativas, 29(15). Coauthored with Roberto Mardones (video).

Although citizen training has been used as a component of the official school curriculum to overcome low levels of political participation in Chile, everything indicates that its curricular implementation into the school experience has not been successful. Although its application in Chile has a long history, its effect on the willingness of students to participate politically has not been properly studied. We maintain that, although it can promote participatory attitudes, the way it is implemented shapes its effects. Regression analyses of the 2016 ICCS survey with variables at the school and individual level demonstrates that the integration of the subject transversally has a positive effect, but only in dispositions related to electoral participation, while other forms of implementation have null or even negative effects on dispositions towards other forms of participation.

2020. "Choosing from the Repertoire of  Contention: Evidence from Student Protests in Latin America" Revista de Sociologia e Política, 28(75).

Introduction: Activists mobilize using various protest strategies to advance their demands but there are few studies analyzing protest events to explain their choice of peaceful, disruptive, and violent methods. This paper argues that when movements have few supporters and allies – major resources for mobilization – they privilege violent tactics. Conversely, when mobilizations have more participants and partners, protests are more likely to use peaceful or disruptive strategies. Materials and Methods: The paper uses a mixed methods research design. From a quantitative perspective, it uses a dataset of 4,700 college student protests in Latin America to test the theoretical claims with logistic regressions. A case study of protest tactics and resources during the December 2014-January 2015 youth protests in Lima, Peru is used to illustrate how human resources shape the repertoire of contention. This qualitative section uses evidence from interviews as well as secondary data. Results: The results of the regression analyses partially support the theory, showing that more participants tend to make protests more peaceful and disruptive and less violent. The effect of certain allies, however, goes against theoretical expectations. As the case study shows, after a relatively violent first march, young activists in Lima organized themselves on a territorial basis, which both decreased the influence of political parties in the movement and increased the number of activists and actors involved, making subsequent demonstration less violent. However, the case study also shows that the presence of specific political actors is inherently associated with more violent strategies. Discussion: This paper shows how the presence of allies and the number of demonstrators, as major resources available to social movements, shape the choice of tactics used in protest events. While more participants and the presence of allies makes events more contained, the evidence also suggests that both very large numbers of participants and the addition of disparate actors into a mobilization may promote violence.

2020. "Regions of discord: Analyzing subnational influences on Chile's foreign trade and investment policies towards the USA during critical events." AUSTRAL: Brazilian Journal of Strategy and International Relations,9(17).

What explains variation on Chile’s foreign trade and investment policies toward the United States? While previous studies have underscored international and country-level factors, this work focuses on how subnational economic differences lead to conflicts that shape the country’s policymaking. It examines Chile’s history of commercial policies toward the U.S., focusing on critical events between 1965 and 2005, finding that foreign trade and investment policy conflicts develop along regional lines during democratic periods and on issues where subnational differences in export dependence are stronger.

SciELO Publications

2018. “Explaining the Outcomes of Asymmetric Conflicts Revisited: The Arauco War.” Estudios Internacionales, 50 (189): 97-119.

This article evaluates two theories that seek to explain the outcomes of asymmetric conflicts. It uses evidence from a case study of the Arauco War (1536-1883). The war resulted, unlike most other instances of European colonization, in the victory of the weaker side. The first theory argues that in asymmetrical warfare, opponents choose between direct (conventional) and indirect (guerrilla) approaches; the stronger side is more likely to win same-approach interactions, while the weaker side is more likely to prevail in different approach interactions. The second theory advances the claim that when armies become mechanized, they gather less intelligence from the ground, and are therefore less likely to solve the information problem - telling combatants apart from noncombatants. The analysis of the Arauco War shows the limitations of the first theory: the stronger side can easily win some different-approach (indirect-direct) interactions, while the weaker can win same-approach (indirect-indirect) ones. The study lends support to the second theory, especially once it is generalized to include cultural differences as factors that exacerbate the identification problem.

Other Publications

2023. "Brechas de género en interés político." In B. Flores Arenas, C. Reyes-Housholder, G. Jiménez-Moya, H. Carvacho, & P. Jirón (Eds.), Tejiendo rutas: Perspectivas para un Chile con equidad de género. Fondo de Cultura Económica Chile. Coauthored with Isabel Castillo and Felipe Sánchez.

2017. “Programas de diplomados en políticas y gestión pública y perfil de participantes de postgrados en Chile: Logros, desafíos y propuestas para la formación de directivos y funcionarios públicos”. Consultancy for Sistema de Formación para el Liderazgo Público en el Estado (SLP), Civil Service Agency, Chilean Ministry of Finance.

2012. “A Puzzling Agent and its Changing Principal: Analyzing the Organization of American States Promotion of Democracy in Latin America, 1948-2011.” Notre Dame Journal of Undergraduate Research, 1(8).