Latin American Politics

As a Brazilian, I have been interested in Brazilian politics since I was very young. Many of my past and current projects have explored politics in Brazil. More recently, I expanded my work beyond Brazil, and started to research on Latin American politics. In this page you find more information about my work on these topics

Party System Institutionalization in Latin America

Party Systems vary on many dimensions. Mainwaring and Scully (1995) argued that variations in levels of Party System Institutionalization (PSI) are among the most important. PSI explores the degree to which Party Systems are stable and rooted in society. With Mainwaring, I have been working on a theoretical reassessment of PSI (also with Ana Petrova), an analysis of the institutionalization of the Brazilian Party System (with Mainwaring and Timothy Power) since the transition to democracy in 1985, and an empirical exploration of the causes of PSI in Latin America in recent decades. All these pieces are part of a new book on Latin American Party Systems published in 2018.

The Catholic Roots of the PT

Many authors have acknowledged that the Brazilian Workers' Party is an anomaly. It is one of the few examples of a mass-bureaucratic political party to emerge in third wave democracies. Guillermo Trejo and I have argued that this is not the only unique feature of the PT. In a context of underdevelopment, democratic transition, and intense religious competition, the PT also became an example of the strength of religious networks for party formation. We are currently working on a paper to demonstrate how religious networks of catholic grassroots groups, social movements, and labor unions were instrumental for the transformation of the PT in a national mass party.


The PMDB is the oldest and largest Brazilian political party. My Master Thesis (State University of Campinas, 2013) explored the party's organization and trajectory after the transition to democracy in Brazil in 1985. Created to house the opposition front against the Military dictatorship, the PMDB survived regime transition and became a predominant actor in Brazilian Politics. I employed a mixed-methods approach to analyzing the party in Sao Paulo, Brazil's richest and most populated state in order to understand the conditions that allowed for its peculiar survival. My Thesis argues that the institutional adaptability the PMDB inherited from its time in the opposition to authoritarianism helped it to adapt to competitive democratic politics. A shorter version of the text is scheduled to appear on a new book about Parties in Sao Paulo, planned for 2018.