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Jessie Trudeau

Rio de Janeiro's North Zone of the city. Taken in 2017.

Welcome! My work spans comparative politics and political economy, with a substantive focus on crime, violence, inequality, and corruption. I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Previously, I was a postdoctoral fellow at Brown University's Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, and I completed my Ph.D. in Government in 2022 at Harvard University. 


My research sheds light on how electoral politics works in the presence of organized crime, and critically examines the effects of criminal presence on public security policies and policing. My book project, Machine Gun Politics: Why Politicians Cooperate with Criminal Groups, explains what politicians can gain from partnering with criminal actors. I leverage a quasi-experimental study of voting, an original database on criminal governance, and 18 months of extensive fieldwork in this mixed-methods study of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I received the 2023 Best Dissertation in the Study of Urban Politics Award from the American Political Science Association (APSA) for this project. Papers drawing from my dissertation have recently won awards from APSA, the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), and the Public Choice Society.

Another recent body of work focuses on the implications of public security on inequality and violence. My paper, Limiting Aggressive Policing Can Reduce Police and Civilian Violence (World Development), was referenced in Brazilian Supreme Court testimony regarding the legality of police raids, and I have authored op-eds in both English and Portuguese about the takeaways from various police reforms. 

I am the recipient of a 2019 Weatherhead Center for International Affairs Dissertation Writing Fellowship and the 2018 recipient of the Jorge Paulo Lemann Traveling Fellowship to Brazil. My field work has generously been supported by the Corporación Andino de Fomiento (CAF), David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS), the Harvard Brazil Cities Initiative, and the Foundations of Human Behavior Initiative (FHB). While in graduate school, I was an associate of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and the Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences.

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