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ABOUT US

We are developing innovative methodologies and data streams to generate scientific understanding about the causes, consequences, and dynamics of violence. We aim with our research to contribute to restore peace, security, and protect human rights.

OUR TEAM

Current members

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Beatriz
Magaloni
Director of the Poverty, Violence, and Governance Lab
Personal Website

Beatriz Magaloni is Professor of Political Science and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University. She is also an affiliated faculty at the Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development. Her research interests fall into four themes: the study of authoritarian regimes; electoral and distributive politics; “traditional” forms of governance and non-state provision of public goods; and violence, public security and human rights. Much of her research has focused on Latin America.

She is the founding director of the Poverty, Violence, and Governance Lab. The Povgov Lab engages researchers and students — undergraduates, M.A. and Ph.D. candidates — from the fields of political science, education, economics, international policy studies, and engineering with the goal of finding solutions to problems of lawlessness and violence.

She is the author of Voting for Autocracy (2006, Cambridge University Press –winner of the Leon D. Epstein Outstanding Book Award for the best book written in the previous two years on parties and elections and the Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association’s Comparative Democratization Section). She is also the author of The Political Logic of Poverty Relief: Electoral Strategies and Social Policy in Mexico (2016, Cambridge University Press, co-authored with Alberto Diaz-Cayeros and Federico Estévez).

Her research has appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Conflict Resolution, World Development, Comparative Political Studies, Annual Review of Political Science, Latin American Research Review, International Journal of Educational Development, Latin American Politics and Society, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Journal of Theoretical Politics, and Política y Gobierno.

Beatriz Magaloni received her Ph.D. in political science from Duke University and obtained her Law degree from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM).

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Alberto
Díaz-Cayeros
Affiliated Faculty
Personal Website

Alberto Díaz-Cayeros is Senior Fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development and Rule of Law (CDDRL) and Director of the Center for Latin American Studies at Stanford University. His research interests include federalism, poverty relief, indigenous governance, the political economy of health, violence, and citizen security in Mexico and Latin America. He is the author of Federalism, Fiscal Authority and Centralization in Latin America (Cambridge, reedited 2016) and coauthor with Federico Estévez and Beatriz Magaloni of The Political Logic of Poverty Relief (Cambridge, 2016), as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters. He is currently working on a project concerning the developmental legacies of colonial rule and governance in indigenous communities in Mexico. In addition, he is the co-PI (with Beatriz Magaloni) of the project Citizen Trust and Evidence-Based Police Accountability and Professionalization in Mexico.

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Belinda
Byrne
Program Manager
Belinda Byrne is grant administrator for the Poverty, Violence and Governance Lab. Prior to this role, she served for many years as executive director at the Freeman Spogli Institute, overseeing administration, finance, faculty affairs and institutional planning. Before that, she held management positions at Stanford’s Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine and at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. A graduate of UC Berkeley, she has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a master’s degree in Education/Learning Design and Technologies.
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Carlos
Schmitt-Padilla
Post-doctoral student supported by Stanford Impact Labs
Personal Website

I received my PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, where I was also a Research Associate at the Center on the Politics of Development. Since September 2021, I am a Postdoctoral Scholar at Stanford Impact Labs.  At Stanford I am affiliated with the Poverty, Violence, and Governance Lab. Broadly, my research interests encompass the political economy of development of Latin America and of sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, I study questions concerning crime, human capital, immigration, and policing in developing countries.

I am from San Salvador, El Salvador.

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Stephanie
Gimenez Stahlberg
Associate Researcher

Stephanie is a PhD Candidate at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and her dissertation analyzes the evolution and locality of violence in Brazil in the last few decades. She holds an MA in International Policy Studies from Stanford University and a BA in Economics and Political Science from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst. She is currently engaged in the evaluation of a nationwide police certification program in Mexico. For the last few years, she has also consulted with USAID to evaluate a program seeking to reduce at-risk youth involvement in crime and violence in Guyana, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts and Nevis. 

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Sarah
Thompson
Graduate Fellow

Sarah is a PhD candidate in Political Science at Stanford University. She is interested in how politically marginalized groups in Latin America and South Asia interact with the state. Currently, her work focuses on the impacts of traditional governance, and improving women’s civic engagement. She received a B.A. (with honors) in Political Science from Columbia University. 

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Alice
Yiqian Wang
Graduate Fellow

Alice Yiqian Wang is Graduate Fellow at Povgov. She is a PhD candidate in Political Science at Stanford University and a graduate fellow with the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE). Her research is broadly concerned with immigration and citizenship policy in the United States and Europe. Currently, her work focuses on the dynamics of judicial decision-making in deportation and asylum proceedings, as well as on political control over the U.S. immigration courts. Alice holds a M.A. in Political and Legal Theory from the University of Warwick, which she attended on a US-UK Fulbright scholarship. She received her B.A. in Philosophy and Government from Smith College.

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Madison A.
Dalton
Graduate Fellow

Madison Dalton is a Political Science Ph.D. student at Stanford University. She is interested in identifying strategies for reducing violence perpetrated against politically and socially marginalized individuals. Currently, her work focuses on preventative interventions addressing commercial sexual exploitation and violence against women and children. Prior to Stanford, she worked as a research associate for Mathematica Policy Research and served as a research fellow for the anti-trafficking nonprofit Love Justice International. She holds a B.S. (with honors) in Quantitative Science and Creative Writing from Emory University.

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Emily
Russell
Graduate Fellow
Personal Website

Emily Russell is a PhD student in Political Science studying comparative politics, international relations, and historical methods. She is a Knight-Hennessy scholar and an NSF fellow. Broadly, she is interested in political violence, including repression and militarization in zones of occupation. She is also interested in groups who organize outside of the state apparatus, including anti-colonial movements and modern forms of indigenous sovereignty. Previously, Emily was a research assistant at the University of Michigan and at the Icelandic Human Rights Centre in Reykjavik, Iceland. As a Kathryn Davis Projects for Peace fellow, she co-founded Playwriting for Peace in Pristina, Kosovo, which used applied theatre techniques to prevent security force enlargement. She maintains an affiliation with the Trivedi Centre for Political Data at Ashoka University in India.

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Hanna
Folsz
Graduate Fellow

Hanna Folsz is a PhD student in Political Science at Stanford University. Her research interests are focused on the political economy of accountability, corruption, and democratic backsliding. She is interested in understanding the determinants of effective democratic accountability, the role of money in politics, and processes of democratic erosion in Latin America and Eastern Europe. Her work applies modern causal inference, text analysis, and geospatial techniques to innovative data sources. She holds a B.A. in Economics and Politics from Durham University and an MSc in Political Science and Political Economy from the London School of Economics. 
 

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Cesar
Vargas Nunez
Graduate Fellow

Cesar Vargas Nunez is Graduate Fellow at Povgov. He holds a BA (with honors) in Political Science from Pitzer College and is a current PhD Candidate in Stanford’s Political Science Department. Prior to Stanford, Cesar spent a year on a Fulbright conducting research on healthcare inequities in Spain and two years as a Research Assistant in San Diego State University’s Research Foundation. His current research interests are focused on the intersection of institutions, law and health. At Povgov, he is looking into the evolution of cartel behavior as these criminal organizations diversify their operations beyond drug-trade and into other criminal activities. This project will provide greater understanding into the changing behavior of cartels and its effects femicides, forced disappearances and mass graves. 

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Isabella
Montini
Master Student Affiliate

Isabella C. Montini is a Graduate Student and Ayacucho Fellow at the Center for Latin American Studies, where she specializes in Political Economy. Born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, she holds a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology from the Humboldt-University in Berlin. She plans to continue her study on redistributive politics in Latin America, focusing on poverty alleviation practices, such as conditional cash transfers programs. In addition to that, Isabella is also interested in conducting research on police violence and government-perpetrated brutality in the Brazilian favelas, examining to what extent people who were exposed to police brutality are more likely to, for instance, mistrust state actors. She wants to investigate racial bias in police activity and the causal relationship between exposure to violence and lack of trust towards law enforcement and how this is endorsed by the militias. Most of Isabella’s work has been using quantitative methodology and, more specifically, causal inference.

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Kim Alexander
Byrial Juarez
Master Student Affiliate

Kim Juárez is a Master's student in Latin American Studies specializing in political economy and anti-corruption efforts in the region. Currently, Kim's work is focused on determining the cultural and institutional roots of corruption perceptions using migration as a natural experiment. He holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Copenhagen, and has worked in the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Danish Parliament, and Transparency International. 

José
L. Sabau
Undergraduate Research Assistant
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Vicente
Vargas
External Collaborator
Personal Website

POVGOV carries out many of its evaluations In Mexico in collaboration with Redes Sociales Para El Desarrollo AC, a non-governmental, not-for-profit civil association formed under the laws of Mexico and doing business as “REDDES”. For almost 20 years, Vicente Vargas has worked—both as a public servant and as a graduate student in Queens' College, Cambridge—on violent social conflicts. His main focus has been to recover the role of the state as the most fundamental social instrument, particularly in poor and violence ridden areas. Vicente has been involved in the attention to diverse conflicts. He supervised the Ministry of Development's response to the Zapatista rebellion in Las Cañadas. He was in charge of the Peace Commissioner's Office in Chiapas. He led the Strategy to alleviate poverty in the 100 poorest municipalities (Estrategia 100x100). From 2008 to 2013, he was in charge of the Program of Governance and Development in the 10 most vulnerable regions of Mexico (167 municipalities). Since 2013, Vicente has been the CEO of Redes Sociales para el Desarrollo (Reddes) and the Observatorio de Desarrollo Regional y Promoción Social (ODP).

Previous collaborators

Jonathan
Furszyfer
Academic Program Manager & Associate Researcher
Luis
Rodríguez
Data Scientist and Graduate Fellow
Gustavo
Robles
Research Scholar
Vanessa
Melo
Program Manager, Research Associate and Graduate Affiliate
Cesángari
López
Associate Researcher
Edgar
Franco
Graduate Affiliate
Veriene
Melo
Graduate Affiliate
Gabriela
Calderón
Postdoctoral Student
Brenda
Jarillo
Postdoctoral Student
Ana
C. Martins
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Gustavo
Empinotti
Graduate Affiliate
Catalina
Ramírez-Sáenz
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Eric
G. Cuevas
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Rosemarie
Sandino
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Robert
Nelson
Graduate Affiliate
Zaira
Razú
Graduate Affiliate
Elisa
Labore
Graduate Affiliate
Jorge
Olarte
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Sofía
Mac Gregor
Associate Researcher
César
Martínez
Graduate Affiliate
Alexis
Lynn Kallen
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Juan
J. Lucci
Graduate Affiliate
Mónica
Terán
Postdoctoral Student
Jonathan
Arriaga
Postdoctoral Student
Sarah
M. Goodman
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Jorge
Ramírez
Graduate Affiliate
Julio
A. Contreras
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Lorenzo
M. de la Puente
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Elena
Cryst
Program Manager
Alex
Ruíz
Non-Stanford Pre-doctoral student
Perla
Lizet González
Program Manager