Mariana Carvalho

Brown University

I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown University. I received my Ph.D. in Political Science in 2022 at University of California, San Diego. My research interests span political economy and comparative politics, with a focus on violence, crime, and corruption.

For the 2021-22 academic year, I was selected as a Harry F Guggenheim Emerging Scholar. In the 2020-2021 academic year, I was a Dissertation Fellow with the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC). My dissertation research and field work has been supported by the 2020-2021 NSF/APSA Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, the UCSD Sanford Lakoff Research Fellowship, and the UCSD International Institute.

Prior to entering UCSD, I received a B.A. in Economics and a M.A. in Public Administration from Fundação Getulio Vargas, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I worked as a consultant for UN-Habitat, affiliated with the municipal government of Rio de Janeiro.

I have co-founded A Ponte, a network of women from academia and the public sector focused on supporting elected women. Our goal is to promote evidence-based policies and strengthen role models to attract more women to politics in Brazil.


  • Political Economy
  • Conflict and Violence
  • Crime
  • Causal Inference

Book Project

My dissertation investigates the causes and consequences of assassinations of local politicians, with a central focus on Brazil. In recent years, hundreds of Brazilian mayors, city councilors, and candidates for these positions have been executed, a phenomenon also observed in Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa and other countries. Although many local politicians are murdered across the world, this disturbing phenomenon receives scant attention in the academic literature. Most related studies focus on other important aspects of political violence, ranging from civil wars to electoral violence against voters. This project addresses this lacuna by pursuing a new research agenda on violence against local politicians.

This project contributes to our understanding of criminal politics and political violence by emphasizing the relationship between corruption and violence against politicians. I employ a mixed-method approach to answer questions about the targets, perpetrators, motivations, and consequences of political killings. Original data on political assassinations provide evidence on the characteristics of local politicians and the political and economic factors that explain spatial and geographical variation in executions. I complement the quantitative data with qualitative research to shed light on motivations behind this type of violence.


Graduate Seminars (as Teaching Assistant)

  • IRGN 479: Program Design and Evaluation. UCSD, Winter 2016
  • Statistics 1B. FGV, Spring 2015

Undergraduate Seminars (as Teaching Assistant)

  • POLI 11: Intro to Comparative Politics. Fall 2017, Summer 2021
  • POLI 12: Intro to International Relations. Spring 2020
  • POLI 30: Political Inquiry. Fall 2019
  • INTL 102: World Poverty. Fall 2016
  • POLI 199: Undergraduate research mentor. 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 academic years


You can download my CV here


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