About Me

I am Vincent Mauro, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Government at Cornell University. I study comparative politics and the politics of inequality.

My book project argues that democracy can certainly spark an impetus for redistribution, but representation – particularly in the developing world – is far from given, and redistributive outcomes across democracies are highly dependent on the development of party systems. In Latin America and across much of the democratic world, broader patterns of social reform, redistribution, and levels of inequality are highly contingent on both the structure and institutionalization of party systems. Utilizing cross-sectional time-series analysis, as well as two longitudinal cases of Brazil and Colombia based on extensive qualitative evidence and archival work, I find countries with stable multi-party systems are more likely to redistribute income, as well as possess lower levels of inequality, than those with inchoate, hegemonic, or two-party counterparts.

Building on these ideas, my second book project investigates a corollary of how the emergence of new parties and party systems may produce reverberations on democratic rule. In highly unequal countries, political parties – particularly those that are a redistributive threat to elites’ interests – can actually pose democracy’s most dangerous threat. Where a new party with strong ties to the popular sectors emerges or a traditional party is captured by an upstart redistributivist or populist, Latin American democracies have been unlikely to survive. To both build and test the theory, I rely on the historical analysis of deviant cases, elite survey experiments, and time-series analysis, to understand how in the last century a significant majority of Latin American democracies have fallen in the presence of, or immediately following the rise of, an emerging redistributive threat.

Lastly, I also am currently conducting a multi-faceted project with co-authors centered on understanding the political behavior of economic elites, particularly in respect to their perceptions of crime and redistribution. In one of these projects, we conduct survey experiments on business elites in Mexico, finding that elites are significantly more likely to favor redistribution or the establishment of social programs when primed to think about crime and insecurity in their respective countries.

Feel free to contact me at vrm38@cornell.edu. My CV is available here.