Livio Miles Silva Muller

Livio Miles Silva Muller

Visiting Research PhD student

Department of Methodology

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Key Expertise
Environmental Sociology, Economic Sociology, Inequality, Transnationalism

About me

Hello! I’m a PhD candidate in Sociology at the Geneva Graduate Institute. My research agenda lies at the intersection of Environmental, Transnational, and Economic Sociologies. Conceptually, I’m interested in how environmental and redistributive policies emerge, gain support, and are contested in the Global South. Methodologically, I rely on various qualitative, quantitative, and computational methods such as in-depth interviews, surveys, text-as-data, and web-scrapping, among others.

My dissertation and book project, entitled “The Amazon as a Carbon Sink: how transnationalism makes and brakes climate change policy in Rainforest States?”, explores the transnational and domestic origins of effective climate mitigation policies in rainforest states. This project relies on (i) in-depth interviews with policy elites, (ii) a novel grant-level dataset on the financial income of diverse policy organisations scraped from multiple sources, and (iii) archival work to process-trace the emergence and dismantling of deforestation policies in Brazil from 1985 to 2022. Empirically, I demonstrate how effective climate mitigation policy in Brazil was triggered by a group of transnationally connected technocrats, who developed policy solutions for climate change outside the state. They exploited a unique opportunity to implement these policies unilaterally, leading to a re-organisation of rural elites in Brazil. Theoretically, I combine political economy and sociology to provide a theory of climate regimes in rainforest states. My theory posits four ideal types of climate regimes depending on (i) the strength of transnational environmental policy networks within government and (ii) the elite support and mobilisation of opposing coalitions.

I also work as research assistant for Prof. Graziella Moraes Silva, in a Swiss National Science Foundation sponsored project entitled "Fear and Trust in Unequal Democracies: Elites and the Politics of Redistribution in the Global South" . In this project, we inquire how elites shape the politics of redistribution through two rounds of an original survey with random samples of CEOs, congresspeople, and high-level civil servants in Brazil and South Africa. Building on theories of elites and inequality, we posit a model that ties elite’s fear of the negative externalities of inequality and their trust in markets and voters, to how they yield power in support or against redistributive policies. The results of this research are being transformed in a book manuscript.