Guillermo Toral

Link to CV

I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University, and a Research Affiliate at MIT GOV/LAB. I work in the fields of comparative politics and political economy, with a regional focus on Latin America and a substantive focus on issues of development, governance, and corruption.

I study relationships among state actors (politicians, bureaucrats, and anti-corruption agents) and how they shape public service delivery and human development. In my work, I use big administrative datasets, surveys, and extensive qualitative fieldwork to shed light on dynamics of government accountability. I am writing a book on The political logics of patronage, distinguishing the strategic uses that local politicians in Brazil make of public employment, and the divergent implications that those strategies have for government accountability and for the quality of public services like education and healthcare. Some of my other research explores the effectiveness of anti-corruption policies and agencies, the role of information in within-government and electoral accountability, and the causes and consequences of the enfranchisement of immigrants.

My research has been supported by the Lemann Foundation, MIT GOV/LAB, the Center for International Studies, the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives, and the Program on Governance and Local Development at the University of Gothenburg.

I obtained my PhD in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in May 2020. Before joining MIT, I spent several years working on education policy and human development programs at the World Bank in Washington DC and across Latin America. Prior to that, I obtained an MPhil in Comparative Politics from the University of Oxford, and a degree in Political Science and Public Administration from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.