Cendon Boveda, Karina

Career Development Fellow and Lecturer

University of Oxford, St Hilda's College, United Kingdom


Max Weber alumnus

Department of Political and Social Sciences

Cohort(s): 2013/2014

Ph.D. Institution

Yale University, United States


My primary research interests include the origins and consequences of political institutions, financial crises, democratic representation, and electoral politics.
I pursued a PhD in Political Science at Yale University and an MA in Policy and Development Management at Georgetown University. I have worked both in academia and as a consultant for multilateral organizations (e.g., the IADB).
My dissertation, ‘Making People Vote: The Political Economy of Compulsory Voting Laws’ (July 2013), addressed key questions regarding democratization, institutional choice and political mobilization. For the empirical analysis, I focused on Latin America (I carried out fieldwork in Argentina, Chile and Colombia) but also drew on secondary sources about mandatory voting in Asia, Europe and Oceania.
There is widespread confusion with respect to compulsory voting; even concerning its conceptualization. The conventional wisdom about its introduction (in democratizing or democratic regimes) is informed by two premises. First, that the legal obligation to vote was a progressive measure insofar as it sought to build citizenship and contribute to equality by boosting electoral participation among the poor. Second, that it was the Left that advocated for it. My work has cast doubt on these assumptions. I have shown that mandatory voting was adopted to offset the anticipated effects of pro-democratic reforms, and that the main determinant of incumbents’ stance on it was the mobilization strategy of rising electoral challengers.
I have taught on a variety of topics, namely: the European Union, Latin American politics, theories of International Relations, the political economy of gender, and international finance.
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