An interest in political economy of development and quantitative methods motivates my work. My research agenda encompasses the topics of provision of public goods, violence, corruption, and political behavior. My area of expertise is Latin America and my work has a special focus on Colombia. I expand on each of these topics below.

Provision of Public Goods

In my dissertation, titled “The Political Economy of Public Goods Provisioning Amid Violence”, I examine how violence reconfigures institutions and dynamics of public goods provisioning. I argue that in countries affected by civil war it is possible to observe a shift in the mode of provision toward an increase in private provisioning of public goods. This occurs when non-state armed actors establish social orders and coopt state institutions in a way that facilitates private providers to go about their business as usual. I argue that the mechanism leading to greater private provisioning differs across sectors of provision depending on the interests and dynamics of cooptation of the local non-state armed actors providing order. To test my argument, I analyze the provision of roads and health care services in Colombia, during and after times of political violence, using two-way fixed effects analyses. Using a novel dataset on 25 years of provision of roads, I show that in the sector of transportation infrastructure a quid-pro-quo between paramilitaries and politicians enable private provisioning via public-private partnerships (PPPs). This occurs because paramilitaries coopt state institutions and act as gatekeepers for the state’s infrastructure projects in exchange for greater legitimacy and reduced sentences for their crimes.

Additionally, using data on health care services and paramilitary violence, I show that the paramilitary diversion of public funds for health care shifts the market of provision toward a greater emergence of private providers. This happens because paramilitaries coopt health care institutions and funds to finance their militias, effectively depleting the public health sector of funds to grow. Furthermore, relying on survival analysis and using a novel dataset on the renegotiation of PPP contracts for roads, I show that transparency in risk allocation increases the efficiency in provision by reducing contract renegotiations. Yet, the benefits of transparency are offset by incumbents using PPPs for pork-barreling. My dissertation bridges the literature in political science and public policy to understand the legacies of political violence in modes of provision and the interactions between public and private providers of public goods in contexts of violence.

In another aspect of my work on the political economy of public goods provision, I focus on the political costs of PPPs (Angulo, Bertelli, and Woodhouse, 2020). PPPs have great potential as tools for pork-barreling. How- ever, the paper argues that constituents’ negative experiences with PPPs induce a sociotropic turn in individual voting, reducing the efficiency of pork-barrelling via these projects. The findings support this argument, showing that there is a twelve percentage points decrease in the vote intention for the incumbent executive and his party in electoral districts with greatest experience with PPPs. To reach this conclusion, the paper analyzes over 100 PPPs in Colombia between 1998 and 2014, and 8,700 individual survey responses from the Latin America Public Opinion Project (LAPOP). This paper introduces an important research agenda on the impact and legacies of New Public Management in developing countries.


Violence constitutes a second research agenda in my work. One paper in this agenda analyzes the impact of territorial autonomy in the protection of indigenous communities in countries ravaged by civil war (Angulo Amaya and Littlefield, N. Working Paper. “Institutions vs. Territory: Examining Violence Against Indigenous Peoples in Colombia’s Resguardos.”). Here, the argument is that territorial autonomy does not deter violence against indigenous people. Instead, this autonomy isolates native communities from state institutions, increasing the probability of armed actors targeting indigenous people within autonomous territories. The preliminary analysis suggests that indigenous territorial autonomy increases the number of indigenous victims in the conflict within these territories, even when controlling for indigenous population density. The analysis uses data on the Colombian conflict, the geographical distribution of autonomous indigenous territories, presence of military bases, drug trafficking, and fiscal disbursement to indigenous communities to explore the impact of territorial autonomy vis-à-vis alternative explanations

In a joint work with Andres Mauricio Ortiz and Sebastian Pantoja (Angulo Amaya, M.C., A. Ortiz, and S. Pantoja, 2014), we analyze Colombians perceptions on the peace process with the FARC and postconflict from a gender perspective. Analyzing data from LAPOP via OLS regressions, we explore Colombians’ approval of the peace process, their attitudes towards forgiveness and reconciliation with demobilized FARC members, and whether they approved ex-combatants’ political participation. Our results show that there are no significant differences between men and women regarding their support for the peace process. However, women tend to be more skeptical regarding the definitive demobilization of ex-combatants, reconciliation with former FARC militants, and they tend to disapprove to a greater extent the political participation of ex-combatants. This paper offers important contributions for theory and public policy, as it highlights the existence gender-based differences in perceptions on postconflict and the challenges that must be addressed from a gender-based perspective to achieve a successful reincorporation of ex-combatants into civil life.


A third distinct research agenda in my work focuses on corruption. One of the papers in this project analyzes the micro- and macro-foundations of perceptions of corruption in Latin America (Angulo Amaya, MC. Working Paper. “Estimating Corruption: Reality Checks and Factual Beliefs.”). In this paper I argue that being a victim of corruption does not shape perceptions of corruption. I test my argument using hierarchical and OLS models to analyze contextual data and over 160,000 survey responses from citizens across Latin America on their experiences with corruption. The results support my argument, showing that being a victim of corruption (being asked to pay a bribe) does not affect perceptions of corruption. This paper contributes to the literature in corruption and political psychology by providing an explanation as to why there is variation on how people perceive corruption despite their limited experiences with bribery. It also offers important methodological contributions to the area of public opinion by offering recommendations on how to improve survey tools to capture perceptions of corruption and experiences with this phenomenon.

Political Behavior

Lastly, in one of my research papers (Angulo Amaya, MC., 2016) I analyze the relationship between electoral behavior and party preference in electoral systems where programmatic voting is weak. The literature on political behavior suggests that party preference determines constituents’ voting intention. However, electoral behavior may determine party preferences in contexts where political parties lack discipline and programmatic platforms. Using survey panel data on the 2011 local elections in Bogota (Colombia), I analyze the statistical strength of association between partisanship and vote intention before and after the 2011 elections and I perform a qualitative analysis on different voter profiles and electoral scenarios. My analysis suggests that in political systems where political parties have little discipline, programmatic voting is not decisive in elections, which is why one is more likely to find a stronger connection between voting decision and party preference. In other words, partisanship in this context is not strong and the evidence suggests that constituents’ form their party preferences according to their electoral behavior.

Fellowships, Grants, and Awards


    • Sistema Nacional de Investigadores SNI: Candidato


  • University of Wisconsin-Madison:
    • Best Dissertation Prize in Comparative Politics (2021)
    • Department of Political Science Summer Writing Scholarship (2021)
    • Department of Political Science Teaching Assistant Award (2021)
    • University Fellowship (2016, 2019).
    • Graduate School Student Research Grants Competition-Conference Presentation (2019).
    • Political Science Summer Funding Initiative (2017, 2019, 2020).
    • LACIS-Tinker Foundation Fieldwork Grant (2017).
    • Stanoch Research Award (2016).


Peer-Reviewed Publications

Angulo Amaya, M.C., Anthony Bertelli, and Eleanor Woodhouse. 2020. “The Political Cost of Public-Private Partnerships: Theory and Evidence from Colombian Infrastructure Development.” Governance, 1-18.

Angulo, M. 2016. “Voting Intention and Party Preference in Bogota.” Colombia Internacional, 86 (Jan-April): 81-106.

Other Publications

Findley, Keith A., Maria Camila Angulo Amaya, Gibson Hatch, and John Smith. 2022. “Plea Bargaining in the Shadow of a Retrial: Bargaining Away Innocence.” Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1726, Wisconsin Law Review, Vol. 2022, 3.

Angulo, M., A. Ortiz, and S. Pantoja. 2014. “Analysis from a Gender Perspective of the Perceptions of Colombians on the Peace Process and Post-conflict.” Colombia Internacional, 80 (Jan-April): 220-233.

Angulo, M., and S. Pantoja. 2014. “Why do Colombians Protest? Determinants of Participation in Public Manifestations in Colombia.” Sextante 3 (March): 12-3.

Angulo, M., and S. Pantoja. 2014. “Perceptions of Corruption Among Public Opinion: Between Governmental Trust and Media Exposure.” Revista Económica Supuestos, 10 (April).

Angulo, M. 2014. “The Rector’s Dilemma.” In Angulo, M., J. Escobar, M. Ruiz, D. Huertas, and Y. Muvdi. 2014. The Rector’s Dilemma. Students documents Series, 2014 -01.

Angulo, M. 2014. “Coexistence in Post-conflict.” Boletín DePolítica, 198 (October).

Angulo, M. 2014. “Establishing Truth in the Ongoing Peace Process.” Boletín De-Política, 158 (April).

Angulo, M. 2012. “Empowerment and Belonging.” Project on empowerment and the right to the city, directed by Amy E. Ritterbusch, Universidad de los Andes.


Angulo Amaya, M.C. “When Pork-Barreling Trumps Transparency: A Survival Analysis of Public-Private Partnership Contracts.”

Angulo Amaya, M.C. “Estimating Corruption: Reality Checks and Factual Beliefs.”

Angulo Amaya, M. and Ned Littlefield. “Institutions vs. Territory? Examining Violence Against Indigenous Peoples in Colombia’s Resguardos.”

Angulo Amaya, MC. and Edward Littlefield. “State Legitimacy and Political Violence: Understanding Nationalism in Colombia.”