Maria’s research interests are at the intersection of Development Economics, Economic history and Political Economy in Latin America. She is particularly interested in the relationship between different collective action (social movements, producer organizations, local rural associations) and redistributive policies, as well as on their repertoires of contentions (riots, protests, local political parties) and their links to violence and conflict.
To develop her projects, Maria has undertaken intense archival data to compile historical statistical information and build original historical municipal-level datasets that allow her to use quantitative methods and econometric techniques.
Currently, Maria is working on a project that studies the relationship between a democratic reform and redistribution during periods of revolutionary threats. Specifically, my research draws on the experience of the organization of the peasant movement in Colombia and the direct participation of this movement in the policy making process (1967-1972), under the threat of a Communist revolution. I argue that governments can use other democratic mechanisms to transfer decision power from elite to a threatening group – in this case the peasantry. Through organizing peasant movement and giving them political representation, governments can identify the rebel leaders and buy them off, in return for preventing social unrest and demobilizing their supporters.