Tuesday Seminar Series: How Gang Activity in Neighborhoods Undermines Democracy? Impacts on Electoral and Non-Electoral Participation in El Salvador


Tuesday, November 15, 2016, 12:00pm to 2:00pm


CGIS South, S-250, 1730 Cambridge Street

Speaker: Abby Córdova, DRCLAS Central America Visiting Scholar; Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Kentucky

In Latin America, crime and violence have reached unprecedented levels. The incidence of crime is particularly high in the Northern Triangle countries of Central America, where gangs (maras) largely drive homicide rates and many other criminal activities. This presentation evaluates the effects of neighborhood gang activity and crime victimization on citizens’ political participation in the context of El Salvador. 

cordovaDr. Abby Córdova is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Kentucky, and a visiting scholar at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) at Harvard University. Her field of specialization is comparative politics, with a focus on public opinion and political behavior in Latin America. Her research has been published or is forthcoming in peer-reviewed outlets, including World Politics, The Journal of Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Latin American Politics and Society, PS: Politics and Political Science, Journal of Democracy, and the International Journal of Sociology (special issue on political inequality in Latin America). She is also the author of editor-reviewed chapters and methodological studies, one of which developed the methodology currently being implemented to evaluate USAID’s programs to prevent crime and violence in Guatemala. Her research integrates topics related to crime and violence, economic inequality, gender inequality, and international migration with the aim of better understanding their effects on citizens’ political attitudes and behaviors.  Dr. Córdova completed her graduate studies at Vanderbilt University, where she obtained a PhD in Political Science and two Master’s degrees, one in Economics, the other in Latin American Studies. In El Salvador, her home country, she completed her undergraduate studies at the Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas (UCA), where she was a professor in the Department of Economics. Before joining the University of Kentucky, she was a post-doctoral fellow in the Latin American Public Opinion Project at Vanderbilt University, where she served as the lead researcher of USAID’s Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) study. She has also been a Fulbright Fellow and worked as a consultant for The World Bank.