Santana Lopez, Mariely

Associate Professor of Government and Politics

George Mason University, Schar School of Policy and Government, United States


Puerto Rico

Max Weber alumnus

Department of Political and Social Sciences

Cohort(s): 2006/2007

Ph.D. Institution

University of Michigan, United States


I was born in Puerto Rico, but I have also lived in the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, and Sweden. I gained my B.A. at the University of Puerto Rico, and in April 2006 I was awarded my Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, USA).
My principal fields of study are Comparative Politics as well as International Relations. My research and teaching interests include comparative welfare states and social policy; comparative federalism (including intra-governmental relations, multilevel governance and devolution); Europeanization; new modes of governance and soft law; legalization, internationalization, and compliance.
Recently, I defended my Ph.D. dissertation entitled, “Soft Europeanization? The Influence of Europe in Employment Policies, Processes and Institutional Configurations in EU Member States.”  My dissertation proposes a theoretical framework to understand why and how non-binding agreements influence Member States in both different and similar ways. My project, which focuses on Spain, Belgium and Sweden, shows that contemporary accounts of European welfare state reform ought to consider the articulation of rules outside the realm of nation-states, given that these rules have the power to subtly transform domestic policies and institutions.  I have published my work in the Journal of European Public Policy (“Framing and Transmitting Change in Employment Policy: Domestic Implications of European Soft Law on Member States,” Vol. 13 (4), June 2006).
During my stay at the EUI, I will expand my dissertation as I am interested in exploring further the influence of ‘soft law’ on sub-national entities, and specifically on their labor market policies, institutions, and patterns of coordination.  Moreover, I will work on the issue of how the nature of intra-governmental relations in a Member States affects several political phenomena, such as compliance and implementation.  I want to do this by exploring the commonalities and differences between different types of political systems, namely federations and unitary states.

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