Katherine McKiernan

Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Inter-American Policy and Research

Tulane University



I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research at Tulane University. Broadly, I'm interested in clientelism and the coordination between elected officials at the local and national level. My current research examines how clientelism changes in weak party systems. I'm interested in two features of parties that challenge clientelism. First, how do politicians who do not have a party machine that selects party brokers select brokers for distributing clientelist benefits? Second, how politicians in largely non-partisan contexts, where every voter is a potential swing voter, determine which voters to target and how to target these voters? With these two features in mind, I explore how weak political parties and partisanship change the way politicians use clientelist strategies and the effectiveness of these strategies. 

In particular, my current research explores clientelism in the form of club goods. In the articles from my dissertation, I apply a mixed-methods approach to answer (1) Which types of municipalities are more likely to receive club goods? and (2) Under what conditions will mayors act as reliable brokers for national politicians by attributing credit for club goods? I answer these questions using the case of Colombia and combine a formal model with regression analysis, survey experiments, and interviews from field research.

I received my PhD from University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill in 2020. I earned my B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College in May 2013 and my M.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in August 2016. For information about my research and teaching interests, please see the links above.

For my CV, please click here.

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