Professor Isabela Mares

I am the Arnold Wolfers Professor of Political Science at Yale University.  I have written extensively on a range of topics in comparative politics and political economy, including democratization, clientelism and corruption, taxation and fiscal capacity development, social policy reforms in both developed and developing countries.

In my current research, I examine the persistence of illicit electoral practices in recent democracies and the impact of reforms seeking to democratize electoral practices. In my recent book Conditionality and Coercion: Electoral Clientelism in Eastern Europe, co-authored with Lauren Young (Oxford University Press 2019), I examine electoral clientelism in Eastern Europe and how voters evaluate clientelistic strategies. A previous book, From Open Secrets to Secret Voting examines the adoption of electoral reforms protecting voter autonomy (New York: Cambridge University Press 2015). I have recently completed a book manuscript Democratization after Democratization: How first-wave democracies have eliminated electoral corruption. More information about this book will be forthcoming soon.

In a different line of research, I have studied the origin and consequences of social policies. My first book The Politics of Social Risk: Business and Welfare State Development (New York: Cambridge University Press 2003) has studied when and why employers have supported the expansion of social policy. In another study, Taxation, Wage Bargaining and Unemployment (New York: Cambridge University Press 2006) I have examined how the growth and the maturation of the welfare state affects the effectiveness of policies of wage moderation in reducing unemployment. My research has received numerous awards including the William Riker Award for best book in Political Economy (2020), the Gregory Luebbert Award for best book in comparative politics (2005) and the Lawrence Longley Award for research in political representation (2014). I am a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

I have previously taught at Stanford and Columbia University and have been a visiting professor at SciencesPo, Paris and the Central European University in Budapest. At Yale, I teach an undergraduate lecture course Capitalism and Crisis and undergraduate seminars examining various topics in the political economy of advanced industrialized societies. At the graduate level, I teach the first-year PhD course in Comparative Politics and an interdisciplinary graduate course on Historical Analysis in Comparative Research. I am also co-organizing together with Alan Gerber the Seminar in American and Comparative Political Behavior


Book: The Politics of Social Risk
Isabela Mares Taxation, Wage Bargaining and Unemployment
Book: From Open Secrets to Secret Voting
Book: Conditionality and Coercion