Laura García Montoya studies the political economy of inequality and political violence in Latin America. Her work focuses on two central problems hindering development in the region: the persistence of high levels of inequality in many countries, and the pervasive violence experienced by many communities there.
Her fellowship book project, “Trapped by Inequality: The Politics of Redistribution in Latin America,” identifies the causes of inequality traps – high and persistent levels of economic inequality – and explains how and why some Latin American countries escape those traps and embark on paths of diminishing inequality. She argues that the state’s relative strength in relation to economic elites shapes the main redistributive institutions and, thereby, long-run economic inequality.
García Montoya, a former postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Politics at Princeton University, also has a series of ongoing projects addressing research methodology and violence. As a methodologist, she studies the logic of causality and leveraging multi-method designs to strengthen social science research. Her research on violence focuses on the intersection between violence and the trajectories of development and political behavior.
García Montoya holds a PhD in political science and an MS in statistics from Northwestern University, and an MA in economics from the University of Los Andes in Bogota, Colombia.