Viridiana Rios

Viridiana Rios

Affiliated // Political Science

Office and Contact

Ph.D. Harvard University, Government
M.A. Harvard University, Government
B. A. ITAM, Political Science



Comparative Politics

Research Interests

As professor of Advanced Quantitative Methodology, I use big data algorithms and statistical learning techniques to show how government structures/policies may induce illegality, either by securing unequal privileges, facilitating criminal activities, or triggering conflict or violence. I also spot the unintended consequences of crime and impunity for economic development, citizen’s redistribution preferences, business organizations, migration patterns, and media coverage. Extracting and expose counter-intuitive and surprising truths hidden in plain sight is the goal of my research, and I do it mostly in Mexico and Central America.

My research has been awarded the American Political Science Association’s Leonard D. White prize to the best doctoral dissertation written in 2014, and Harvard’s Merit Fellowship for Outstanding Research in 2011. I have hold research grants and fellowships from The Wilson Center (2016), The Guggenheim Foundation (2014), and The Center for US-Mexico Studies at UCSD (2011), among others. I was also selected as one of the top-12 young experts by NBER’s Working Group of the Economics of Crime in 2012, and profiled at Harvard Gazette as one of the 15 Harvard’s stellar graduates of 2013.

Selected Publications

Holland B, Ríos V. How criminal rivalry leads to violence against the press. Journal of Conflict Resolution. 2015 :1-25

Ríos V. How Government Coordination Controlled Organized Crime. Journal of Conflict Resolution. 2015; 59 (8) :1433-1454.

Eisenstadt T, Ríos V. Multicultural Institutions, Distributional Politics and Postelectoral Mobilization. Latin America Politics and Society. 2014;56 (2) :70-92.

Ríos V. The Role of Drug-Related Violence and Extortion in Promoting Mexican Migration. Latin American Research Review. 2014;49 (3) :199-217.

Ríos V. Why did Mexico Become so Violent?. Trends in Organized Crime. 2013;16 (2) :138-155.

Ríos V, Coscia M. How and Where Do Criminals Operate? Using Google to Track Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations. Working Paper, 2011.



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