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Academic Research

Faculty Research

John Polga-Hecimovich
Professor, Political Science Department

John's research is broadly focused on the effects of political institutions on democratic stability, policymaking, and governance, especially in Latin America.  He is also interested in the application of formal modeling and quantitative methodology to answering research questions in these areas. His current book project that examines how lawmakers in countries with low capacity bureaucracies assure the effective implementation of given public policies, and how their choice of bureaucratic agents affects the likelihood of policy success. To show how agency ideology and agency capacity influence chief executives' decision-making calculus, he evaluates patterns of policy delegation from an original database of over 50,000 executive decrees from across Latin America.  He then evaluates the policy success of selected projects. He finds that although presidents may circumvent low capacity bureaucracies to implement policy, this is a costlier long-term strategy than investing in improving agency capacity.  In addition to this, he is interested in presidential (in)stability, specifically in patterns of coups d'état and presidential impeachment, coalition dynamics under presidentialism, and the design of electoral institutions.  He has published peer-reviewed scholarship in The Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Democratization, and Electoral Studies, among others.

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