B.A., International Relations, University of San Andres
M.A., International Studies, Torcuato Di Tella University
I'm a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in International Relations. I received my B.A. from the University of San Andres (Argentina), and my M.A. in International Studies from Torcuato Di Tella University, with a focus on International Politics and Security.
Generally, I'm interested in the study of human rights promotion and the politics of foreign aid. Can human rights violations be reduced or prevented by the international community? What are the strategies that work and which ones don't? What is the role of international organizations in this process? In order to answer these questions, I study the different tools countries use to promote human rights, and the factors that drive actors to weight-down the respect of sovereignty in favor of human rights promotion.
Currently, my research focuses on the effects of state-to-state criticism, individuals preferences for human rights promotion and the respect of sovereignty, the the relationship between border cooperation and human rights enjoyment, and the politics of compliance within the Inter-American system of human rights. I am also interested in understanding what is being taught in the field of International Relations, with a focus in Latin America. Methodologically, most of my research relies, broadly, on statistical methods for causal inference, and specifically on text analysis, network analysis, and geographic information systems.
I also run, with Florencia Montal (University Torcuato Di Tella), a lab on recommendations issued by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Moreover, I teach the graduate Seminar Thesis at University Torcuato Di Tella and the graduate course Development Cooperation Data Analysis at National University of San Martín.
I grew up in Posadas, a Northern city in Argentina, capital of the Misiones province. As one of the poorest provinces in the country, several injustices and human rights violations occur regularly in Misiones. This informed my interest in human rights and development cooperation. However, as a child, I wanted to be a diplomat. I got awarded a scholarship to study International Relations in Buenos Aires. During my college years I realized I was more interested in understanding the world and trying to make a difference by providing evidence rather than pursuing a diplomatic career.
Before coming to Penn, I worked in a consulting firm in Buenos Aires, Argentina on applied research on foreign aid and human rights, in the MERCOSUR Institute of Public Policy on Human Rights, and in the Argentine Council for International Relations, a top Latin American think-tank on foreign policy and international relations. Academically, I conducted research on foreign policy in Latin America and taught the 'Theories of International Relations' class at the University of San Andres and 'International Politics' in the Foreign Service Institute.
- (forthcoming) New Donors, New Goals? Altruism, Self-Interest, and Domestic Political Support in Development Cooperation in Latin America, Latin American Politics and Society.
- (2015) In the shadow of the state: Think tanks and foreign policy in Latin America, International Journal: Canada’s Journal of Global Policy Analysis 70(4): 613-628 (with Federico Merke).
- (2013) Theories of International Relations and the Explanation of Foreign Aid, Iberoamerican Journal of Development Studies 2(1): 72-92.
- (2013) “Foreign Policy and Human Rights Advocacy: An Exercise in Measurement and Explanation”, Human Rights Review 14(2): 131-155 (with Federico Merke).
- (2019) Foreign Aid’s Motivations: Theoretical Arguments and Empirical Evidence, in Olivié, Iliana and Aitor Pérez, Aid Power and Politics, Routledge.
- (2017) South–South cooperation and the governance of development aid in South America, in Riggirozzi, Pia and Christopher Wylde, Handbook of South American Governance, Routledge.
Peer and Social Pressure in International Relatinos: A Study of State-to-State Dynamics in Human Rights Promotion
What explains policy change in the area of human rights? An accepted explanation in the literature is that international actors `name and shame' repressive regimes and this induces change. It is also argued that this process generates domestic mobilization and costs to targets. I argue that policy change can also be affected by two different mechanisms, social and peer pressure. However, a discussion about policy change requires a discussion about how social and peer pressure are conceptually and empirically different than other mechanisms theorized in the literature. In my dissertation project I advance a theory of social and peer pressure to explain the role of the international community in the diffusion of human rights norms. To test my theory, I collect new data on state-to-state pressure and social ties on human rights. More specifically, I analyze patterns of human rights policy change in three human rights areas: human trafficking, child marriage, and LGBT discrimination.
Under Friendly Fire: Criticism and Praising in the Universal Periodic Review
How are international human rights norms diffused across countries? What is the role of foreign governments in this process? The literature is inconclusive on whether naming and shaming is an effective tool to improve human rights conditions in repressive regimes. The effects of international pressure as a strategy to put pressure over human rights violators have been found to be effective, ineffective, or conditional on a third factor. This paper analyzes state-to-state pressure and its effects on adjusting human rights policies. It argues that social sanctions such as shame and guilt are an effective tool to promote human rights among in-groups but an ineffective strategy among members of out-group communities relative to alternatives. To test the hypotheses, it analyzes new data of statements delivered by countries in the Universal Periodic Review. By running a text analysis based on a lexicon specifically developed to study sentiment of diplomatic speeches, it shows that disapproval and criticism decrease the likelihood of accepting recommendations among out-groups and increases the probability of accepting human rights recommendations among in-groups compared to other non-coercive strategies. The empirical evidence shows that peer pressure has heterogeneous effects while also demonstrates the importance of normative pressure and the contributions of this study to the field of International Relations.
Assessing the effect of geographic proximity to international borders on support for human rights
Is human rights promotion's support affected by contact with foreigners? Contact theory suggests that intergroup contact reduces prejudice to out-group members. However, testing this theory is challenging since it is difficult to identify individuals that self-selected themselves into contact with out-groups because they have higher levels of empathy. This paper proposes a new method to test contact theory in the area of human rights promotion and analyzes the relationship between national borders and the individual support for human rights in Africa. By considering that border zones make people close to out-groups more likely, through increasing contact with foreigners, it looks at if an individual's support the promotion of human rights in a neighboring country is affected by the individual's geographic location in relation to the international border. By using public opinion geocoded data, the paper provides strong evidence that proximity to securitized borders is negatively correlated with the support of human rights, while there is only suggestive evidence proximity to non-securitized increases support for human rights promotion policies.
Borders as International Institutions: Shared Governance, Barriers to Entry, and Human Rights Outcomes at the Edge of State Sovereignty (with Beth Simmons)
Research on international borders in international law and relations has been dominated by the paradigm of state sovereignty, with an empirical focus on the politics of division and settlement. This article argues that if we take the idea of international borders seriously, we need to reexamine state obligations regarding how they are governed. New evidence is evaluated to assess the proposition that when borders are securitized unilaterally, human rights are at greater risk. Using spatial data on infant mortality rates, we find that border hardening is associated with high differentials in health outcomes in border zones throughout the world. One way to interpret this finding is that border hardening complicates access to potentially life-extending health support. This paper opens a new research agenda that documents and explains the varying ways in which the choices regarding border governance implicate human rights risks. We hope this agenda spurs discussions of cooperative governance modes that might preserve border security while minimizing the risks of violating a human right to health in borders zones.
Is the bad news about compliance bad news about human rights? Evidence from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (with Florencia Montal)
What explains compliance with international human rights orders and how do we know when states comply? An accepted finding in the literature is that some orders are harder to implement than others. It is also known that when petitioning before international organizations, NGOs are interested in structural, harder-to-implement measures. We argue NGO involvement also impacts the compliance process through implementation monitoring. We theorize that "certified" compliance (what international institutions recognize states have done) can overlap with either hollow or effective compliance (what states have actually done). Thus, the discussion about compliance with human rights orders requires a discussion about how authoritative bodies recognize compliance in contexts of incomplete information. By supplying information to international organizations about state actions, NGOs can make orders take longer to reach status of full compliance. We test our expectations in the case of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights. We analyze a novel dataset on state compliance with the Commission's recommendations. This argument has important implications for negative assessments of the Inter-American system and the international human rights regime in general. If NGOs help that only effective implementation receives an international organization's seal of approval, large numbers of orders with pending compliance might not necessarily be bad news about human rights on the ground.
Pride and Prejudice? Explanations for publication patterns in the Argentine IR community (with Florencia Montal and Patricio Yamin Vazquez)
What explains publication patterns of IR scholars from the Global South? Two contradictory trends suggest, on the one hand, that the IR field is becoming more globalized and homogeneous, and, on the other hand it is suggested that periphery remains marginalized from global trends and discussions. We contend that studies of academic transnational networks (ATN) have focused on a small portion of scholars from the Global South. What is the distribution of scholars that participate in ATN? How do these two trends interact in a specific scholarly community? What explains where scholars from the Global South publish their research? To explore these questions, we manually collected data on papers published by Argentine IR scholars in international, regional and local journals. We propose explanations of three levels to explain publication patterns of IR scholars from the Global South. We find that author-level explanations related to education, and institutional-level explanations related to peer pressure and socialization are the main predictors of publication in “global journals”.
- 2011-2017, Teaching Assistant, 'Theories of International Relations', University of San Andres (Argentina) [Instructor: Federico Merke]
- 2014-2016, Teaching Assistant, 'International Politics', Foreign Service Institute, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship of Argentina [Instructor: Federico Merke]
- 2018, Teaching Assistant, 'International Political Economy', University of Pennsylvania [Instructor: Ryan Brutger]
- 2019, Teaching Assistant, 'International Law & Institutions', University of Pennsylvania [Instructor: Mark Pollack]
- 2019-2020, Teaching Assistant, 'International Law', University of Pennsylvania [Instructor: Beth Simmons]
- 2020, Visiting Professor, 'Graduate Thesis Seminar', University Torcuato Di Tella
- 2017, December 6, "Cambiemos y las elecciones legislativas en Argentina" with Santiago Cunial, Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica (México)
- 2017, July 19, "El G-20, oportunidad para Argentina", El Estadista (Argentina)
- 2017, July 6, "Las relaciones Argentina-Europa en la presidencia de Macri" with Gonzalo Casais, Centre for the Analysis of Foreign Policy and International Security of Catalonia (Spain)
- 2017, May 18, "Volver al mundo, con todos adentro", El Estadista (Argentina)
- 2017, May 15, "Un viaje ideal y necesario", El Economista (Argentina)
- 2017, April 25, "Macri visita a Trump", Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica (México)
- 2016, November 24, "Los desafíos de Guterres", El Estadista (Argentina)
- 2016, November 9, "Trump y America Latina", Perfil (Argentina)
- 2016, August 26, "Asia, primer objetivo para la política exterior argentina" with Andres Schelp, La Nacion (Argentina)
- 2016, July 18, "Voler al mundo es más complejo" with Andrés Malamud, El Estadista (Argentina)
- 2016, May 23, "Malcorra a la ONU: ¿Acierto o jugada condenada al fracaso?", El Economista (Argentina)
- 2016, May 14, "¿Lo que se vive en Brasil es el fin del Mercosur?" with Gonzalo Casais, Perfil (Argentina)
- 2016, April 11, "La visita de Obama a Argentina", Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica (México)
- 2016, January 11, "Latinoamérica en 2016: entre la incertidumbre y la esperanza" with Andrei Serbin Pont, Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica (México)
- 2015, December 8, "¿Por qué los resultados de las elecciones venezolanas son importantes para la región?", La Nacion (Argentina)
- 2015, November 23, "Lo que vendrá en política exterior argentina con Macri", Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica (México)
- 2015, October 26, "Las elecciones argentinas y el voto para los parlamentarios del Mercosur" with Pedro Antenucci, Foreign Affairs Latinoamerica (México)
- 2015, October 25, "La política doméstica se trasladó al Mercosur" with Pedro Antenucci, Perfil (Argentina)
- 2015, February 4, "El escándalo argentino", Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica (México)
- 2014, September 7, "Principios o personas", Perfil (Argentina)
- 2014, August 27, "El ISIS y un cambio en el balance de poder regional", Infobae (Argentina)
- 2014, August 1, "Partnerstvo, Hùzhùhézuò and Default (Asociación, alianza y cesación de pagos)", Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica (México)
- 2014, June 29, "EE.UU., en la mirada de America latina: de la condena al ejemplo" with Federico Merke, La Nacion (Argentina)
- 2014, April 1, "La política exterior argentina de derechos humanos", Foreign Affairs Latinoamérica (México)